Family Environment and the Incidence of Post Traumatic Stress

D. Purves, P. Erwin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Objectives: This study examined the extent to which the occurrence of post-traumatic stress (PTS) was associated with aspects of the individual’s family environment. It was predicted that a positive, supportive family environment may be associated with a lower incidence of PTS in a student population. Design: A questionnaire study. Method: Participants were an opportunity sample of 123 female and 77 male students in higher education. Each participant completed a copy of the Family Environment Scale (FES) and the Watson et al. (1991) PTSD-I questionnaire, which closely mirrors DSM IV criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Results: The initial analysis was by means of a 2 (sex) x 2 (PTS vs. PTS) analysis of variance. There was a significant interaction effect (F(1,196) = 7.23, p<.01). Males classified with PTS had much lower FES scores than males classified as non-PTS. There were no differences in FES scores between the female PTS and nonPTS groups. Further analyses examine the relationship between specific aspects of family environment measured by the FES and their relation to PTS classification. Conclusions: Consideration is given to the idea that positive family environments may buffer against PTS for males. As research typically indicates that females have closer, more intimate relationships than males, this general pattern of female relationships might mean that they are less vulnerable to poor family relationships which could otherwise give vulnerability to traumatising events
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001
EventBritish Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Apr 2001 → …


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period1/04/01 → …


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