Representations of Self and Parents, and Relationship Themes, in Adolescents with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Negative perceptions of self and others have lately become one of the criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among adults and adolescents. Drawing from theories of mental representations in psychopathology, this study examined self-reported negative cognitions, self and parental representations, and relationship themes among adolescents with and without PTSD. Thirty one adolescents with PTSD (11 boys, mean age = 14.06, SD = 2.24) were matched with 29 adolescents who had no psychiatric diagnosis (11 boys, mean age = 14.96, SD = 1.78). Adolescents completed self-report measures, wrote a description of self, mother and father, and were interviewed about positive and negative relationship episodes with mother, father, and peers. Adolescents with PTSD reported more self-criticism and performance evaluation than did controls. Their self-representation exhibited a lower sense of agency, which was related to structural variables (i.e., less integrative description). Although parental representations of adolescents with PTSD were not generally less benevolent or more punitive than those of controls, their relationship themes revealed a higher proportion of the wish to be distant from others. Adolescents with PTSD exhibited more passive responses and perceived more dominant or controlling responses from their parents. Findings point out to a serious impairment in representations of self and relationship patterns in adolescent PTSD.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016