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Posttraumatic Cognitions and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Among War-Affected Children: A Cross-Lagged Analysis
In a longitudinal study of war-affected children, we tested, first, whether posttraumatic cognitions (PTCs) mediated the relationship between initial and later posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSSs). Second, we analyzed the relative strength of influences that PTCs and PTSSs have on each other in cross-lagged models of levels and latent change scores. The participants were 240 Palestinian children 10-12 years of age, reporting PTSSs and PTCs measures at 3, 5, and 11 months after a major war. Results show that PTCs did not mediate between initial and later PTSSs. The levels and changes in PTCs statistically significantly predicted later levels and changes in PTSSs, but PTSSs did not statistically significantly predict later PTCs. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that PTCs have a central role in the development and maintenance of PTSSs over time, but they do not support the hypothesis that initial PTSSs develop to chronic PTSSs through negative PTCs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).