Predictions from cognitive theories of adjustment to victimization were tested in two groups: stroke patients and their caregivers. Consistent with these approaches, a substantial proportion of respondents reported searching for a cause, asking themselves "Why me?" and finding meaning in the event. Multiple regression analysis revealed that, even when the effects of the severity of the stroke were controlled for, finding meaning had the positive effects proposed by a cognitive approach. A concern with the selective incidence of the event was associated with poorer adjustment, but being able to identify a cause was related to more positive outcomes. Those who held themselves responsible for the stroke were more poorly adjusted when the effects of severity of the stroke were controlled for. The results suggest that future researchers make a careful distinction between causal attributions for a negative event, selective incidence attributions ("Why me?"), and responsibility attributions. They appear to have different implications for adjustment following a traumatic event.
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