Violations of War: Testing the Meaning–Making Model Among Vietnam Veterans
Steger, Michael F.
Owens, Gina P.
Park, Crystal L.
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Objective: Posttrauma adjustment theories postulate that intense stressors violate people s beliefs about the world and perceived ability to achieve valued goals. Failure to make meaning from traumatic events exacerbates negative adjustment (e.g., PTSD), whereas success facilitates positive adjustment (e.g., stress–related growth). The current study aimed to test this model of direct and indirect effects among a sample of veterans. Method: Vietnam veterans (N = 130) completed assessment measures in an online survey format. Participants were largely male (91%) and Caucasian (93%) with a mean age of 61 years. Results: Results supported basic model tenets, linking military stress severity to violations of beliefs and goals. In the final model, only goal violations carried indirect effects of severity on PTSD symptoms. Presence of and search for meaning carried a portion of the indirect effects between goal violations and both PTSD and stress–related growth. Conclusion: Findings suggest that traumatic stress may disrupt people s goals and meaning–making may center on these disruptions. C 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Clin. Psychol. 71:105 116, 2015.