Tonic immobility predicts poorer recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder

Muriel A. Hagenaars*, Jacques A. P. Hagenaars

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: 

Tonic immobility (TI; a state of motor arrest during threat) and has been found to be associated with the development of psychopathology. It also hindered recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after pharmacological treatment. The present study investigated the role of TI in recovery from PTSD in a large representative community sample with mixed traumas outside an exclusive treatment context.

Methods: 

Participants with PTSD from the panel for Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS) completed measures for trauma, PTSD symptoms, and peritraumatic responses (fear, dissociation, and TI) in two subsequent years. Traumatized participants with PTSD were selected for the analyses (N = 262).

Results: 

TI was a relevant predictor for increased PTSD symptoms in year 2 after controlling for peritraumatic fear, peritraumatic dissociation, and PTSD symptoms in year 1, especially in abuse victims. Peritraumatic fear and dissociation no longer predicted PTSD in year 2 after entering TI in the model.

Conclusions: 

Our results indicate that TI may indeed hinder recovery from PTSD. TI may thus be a relevant factor to take into account after trauma and in treatment. The effects of TI may be especially negative for abuse victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-369
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume264
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Tonic immobility
  • Dissociation
  • Fear
  • Peritraumatic reactions
  • Recovery
  • CHILDHOOD SEXUAL-ABUSE
  • PERITRAUMATIC DISSOCIATION
  • LEARNED HELPLESSNESS
  • SYMPTOM SEVERITY
  • ASSAULT
  • VICTIMS
  • RAPE
  • PTSD
  • SURVIVORS
  • VIOLENCE

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