Self-concept, post-traumatic self-appraisals and post-traumatic psychological adjustment: What are the relationships

Alberta Engelbrecht, Laura Jobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background:Cognitive models of post-traumatic psychological adjustment have implicated both self-concept and self-appraisals in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Two studies investigated the relationship between self-concept and trauma-related self-appraisals, and whether culture influenced this relationship.Method:In Study 1, a student sample (Asian n = 41, British n = 34) who self-identified as having been through a trauma or extremely stressful event completed measures of self-concept, trauma-related self-appraisals and trauma-related distress. Study 2 extended this by asking Asian (n = 47) and British (n = 48) trauma survivors with and without PTSD to complete the same self measures as those administered in Study 1.Results:Study 1 found that overall for the British group, disruptions in self-concept (i.e. self-discrepancies and trauma-themed self-concept) correlated significantly with negative self, world and self-blame appraisals and depression. However, the same was not found in the Asian group. Study 2 found that pan-culturally those with PTSD had greater self-discrepancies and trauma-defined self-concept than those without PTSD. Additionally, pan-culturally, trauma-defined self-concept correlated significantly with negative self appraisals and depression; ideal self-discrepancies correlated significantly with negative self-appraisals across cultures and depression for the British group; while ought self-discrepancies correlated significantly with negative world appraisals for the Asian group and negative self and self-blame appraisals for the British. Lastly, negative self, world and self-blame appraisals correlated with symptoms of depression.Conclusions:Taken together, the findings relay the important associations between appraisals, self-concept and post-traumatic psychological adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-480
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • appraisals
  • identity
  • self-concept
  • self-discrepancy
  • trauma

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