Our knowledge about the effects of perceived emotional support on PTSD, anxiety and depressive symptoms after serious threat and violence is primarily based on post-event studies. Very little is known about the extent to which (1) victims lacking pre-event emotional support are more at risk of post-event symptoms and lack of post-event support than victims with pre-event emotional support, and (2) victims with pre-event emotional support and victims lacking emotional support are more at risk of post-event anxiety and depressive symptoms than nonvictims with similar pre-event support levels. For this purpose, we conducted a 2-wave prospective study (VICTIMS) using the Dutch population-based longitudinal LISS panel. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted, controlling for pre-event demographics, symptoms, and physical, work-related and financial problems. As hypothesized, victims (N^victims total = 187) lacking pre-event support more often had high post-event PTSD, anxiety and depressive symptoms than victims with pre-event support. No significant differences were found between victims and nonvictims with pre-event emotional support (N^nonvictims total = 2,828, not exposed to any event). Since victims and nonvictims with pre-event support did not differ in post-event symptoms and support, the findings offer strong evidence for the buffering hypothesis of emotional support.
- Lack of emotional support