2013 Volume 28 Pages 66-73
This study examined which psychological factors characterize posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and depression in students affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Specifically, we examined automatic thoughts, negative appraisals of posttraumatic stress symptoms, and posttraumatic growth. We administered an inventory assessing these factors to 289 high school students (139 boys and 150 girls) of Iwate Prefecture who had been affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. We then performed a discriminant analysis to examine which patterns of these factors predicted PTSD symptoms and depression. Our results suggested that having negative appraisals of posttraumatic stress symptoms and posttraumatic growth predicted PTSD symptoms, while having automatic thoughts and posttraumatic growth predicted depression. The present results can inform the development of preventive approaches; for example, cognitive restructuring would be useful for decreasing students' negative appraisals of their posttraumatic stress symptoms and increasing posttraumatic growth, which would facilitate their recovery from disaster traumas and reduce the likelihood of their developing PTSD.