Associations between relationship quality, social network resources, appraisals, coping, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms

Megan Hansford, Laura Jobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to explore whether posttrauma cognitions and maladaptive coping strategies mediated the association between perceived social support (availability of social network and quality of specific relationships) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Method: A community sample of trauma survivors (N = 67, 84% female) completed self-report measures assessing relationship quality, perceived availability of social network support, PTSD symptoms, negative posttrauma appraisals and maladaptive coping strategies. Results: Posttrauma appraisals mediated the association between quality of relationships (support, conflict and depth) and PTSD symptoms, and between availability of social network support and PTSD symptoms. Further, there was an indirect pathway between social support (quality of relationship and availability of social network) and PTSD symptoms through negative cognitive appraisals and maladaptive coping strategies (serial mediation). Conclusions: Our results are consistent with theoretical predictions that socially supportive (support, depth and social network availability) and unsupportive (conflict) relationships are associated with PTSD, through cognitive appraisal and coping processes. Clinical implications for further integrating interpersonal support into cognitive therapies were discussed. Clinical Impact Statement—Higher quality relationships (i.e., more support and depth, and lower conflict) with specific people and perceived availability of social network support may be associated with fewer negative appraisals and lower PTSD symptoms. Strengthening close interpersonal relationships may improve cognitive appraisals of self, others and world. Further, examining social network interactions may contribute to a reduction in maladaptive coping strategies (such as substance use, behavioral disengagement and self-blame), and may also improve cognitive appraisals and through appraisals attenuate PTSD symptoms. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-585
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • appraisals
  • maladaptive coping
  • PTSD
  • relationship quality
  • social support

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