The study examined the associations between repressive coping style, acute stress disorder (ASD) and subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after myocardial infarction (MI) to ascertain the efficacy of repressive coping style in immediate and long-term adjustment to stress.
A total of 116 MI patients were examined twice: within a week of their MI (time 1) and 7 months later (time 2). At time 1, repressive coping style, perceived threat, and ASD were measured by self-report questionnaires. In addition, medical measures indicative of the severity of the MI were obtained from patients’ hospital records. At time 2, PTSD was assessed. The distribution of the repressive coping style was compared with that of 72 matched control subjects.
Findings revealed the adaptiveness of repressive coping style both in the immediate and longer-term aftermath of MI: repressors endorsed less ASD and PTSD than nonrepressors. In addition, the contribution of repressive coping style to PTSD was unique and beyond the implications of severity of MI, perceived threat, and immediate ASD.
The findings support the role of repressive coping style as a stress-buffer; several mechanisms that explain this role are suggested.