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The Role of Negative Affect Intensity and the Fear of Emotions in Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Severity Among Victims of Childhood Interpersonal Violence

Tull, Matthew T. PhD*†; Jakupcak, Matthew PhD; McFadden, Megan E. BS; Roemer, Lizabeth PhD§

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: July 2007 - Volume 195 - Issue 7 - p 580-587
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318093ed5f
Original Article

Heightened negative affect (NA) intensity and the tendency to negatively evaluate emotions may be associated with the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress symptoms. However, the specific role of these vulnerabilities has yet to be explored. Thus, this study was conducted to examine the influence of NA intensity and the fear of emotions in posttraumatic symptom severity among 102 childhood interpersonal violence victims. Fear of emotions significantly predicted posttraumatic symptom severity above and beyond NA intensity and NA. Findings suggest that posttraumatic outcomes may not be influenced by an underlying vulnerability of heightened NA intensity, but instead, are affected by the extent to which emotional responses are negatively evaluated. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for interventions and future research on posttraumatic responding.

*Department of Psychology; †Center for Addictions, Personality, and Emotion Research, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland; ‡Seattle Veterans Affairs, Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington; and §Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts.

This research was conducted at the University of Massachusetts Boston. This research was supported by an internal grant from the University of Massachusetts Boston to the last author.

Send reprint requests to Matthew T. Tull, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.