This study examines the association between approach coping and better functioning outcomes and the reciprocal relationships between coping and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in patients diagnosed with PTSD. Posttraumatic stress disorder patients receiving services in five VA health care systems were randomly selected and surveyed at baseline and followed 10 months later. Analyses of longitudinal data using structural equation modeling techniques showed that more approach coping predicted better family and social functioning. Cognitive avoidance coping predicted more PTSD symptoms, and more PTSD symptoms predicted more approach coping and more behavioral avoidance coping. Approach coping may enable patients with chronic PTSD to establish and maintain better relationships with family and friends, despite continuing PTSD.
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