Sociocultural context and the posttraumatic psychological response: Considering culture, social support, and posttraumatic stress disorder

Megan Hansford, Laura Jobson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: A lack of posttrauma social support is an important contributor to the maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there is a paucity of cross-cultural research regarding social support in PTSD. This article considers how culture (with a specific focus on independent and interdependent self-construal) influences posttrauma social support and its relationship with PTSD. METHOD: We review models of PTSD elucidating the role of social support and explored empirical support for the relationship between social support and PTSD. We consider the role of culture in social support and conducted a review of literature examining culture, social support, and PTSD. Finally, we discuss theoretical and clinical implications and future research directions. RESULTS: Functional social support tended to be negatively associated with PTSD; supportive social environments tended to foster disclosure of trauma; and increased number, diversity, and continuity of social contact in one's social relationships might reduce the risk of PTSD. In nontrauma research, researchers have identified distinct profiles of culturally appropriate social support, which differs between cultures. Cross-cultural research examining social support in PTSD was limited (k = 14, N = 18,552), and findings were inconsistent. CONCLUSIONS: The nontraumatic stress literature clearly demonstrates cross-cultural differences in preferences for, and psychological and physiological benefits of, social support. However, the psychotraumatology literature lags concerningly behind. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-679
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Cite this