Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms as a function of the interactive effect of subjective age and subjective nearness to death

Yaakov S.G. Hoffman, Amit Shrira, Sara Cohen-Fridel, Ephraim S. Grossman, Ehud Bodner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

An older age identity is related to higher posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, in relating to PTSD symptoms, an older subjective age can interact with other major perceptions of aging, such as the subjective nearness to death, reflecting how close or far people experience themselves to be from their death. We examined this possible interaction effect on PTSD symptoms in two samples. Sample 1 included 1268 respondents exposed to missile attacks during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. Sample 2 included 628 respondents exposed to terrorist attacks during the 2015 escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Findings from both samples showed that after controlling for level of exposure and background characteristics, an older subjective age and perceiving death as near had an interactive effect on PTSD symptoms. While the combination of feeling older and nearer to death was related to the highest ratings of PTSD symptoms, effects of subjective age on PTSD symptoms were mitigated by perceiving death as far. These findings emphasize the importance of an integrative view of two time perspectives – one that focuses on time since birth and another that concerns time left until death – which can be conceptualized as reflecting psychological resources vis-à-vis adversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume102
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Missile attacks
  • PTSD symptoms
  • Subjective age
  • Subjective nearness to death

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