Predisposition to Trauma

Does previous trauma lead to sensitivity to further trauma? Perhaps not. A recent article in the Archives of General Psychiatry (vol. 65, #4), courtesy of Ken Pope, suggests that predisposition to trauma may have more to do with sensitivities inherent to the individual, rather than previous episodes of trauma. Previously, in a piece on Bessel Van der Kolk, it had been suggested that previous trauma, whether it resulted in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms or not may contribute to future PTSD.

From the article:

Prior trauma increases the risk of PTSD after a subsequent trauma only among persons who developed PTSD in response to the prior trauma. The findings suggest that preexisting susceptibility to a pathological response to stressors may account for the PTSD response to the prior trauma and the subsequent trauma.


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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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