Drawing current posttraumatic stress disorder models into the cultural sphere: the development of the 'threat to the conceptual self' model.


Current models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) represent significant advances in our understanding of psychological processes involved in the development and maintenance of PTSD. However, these models may be limited theoretically and clinically given they have not considered cultural differences in self-construal. Cultural differences in self-construal have been found to impact on, and in many cases govern, the very psychological processes implicated by the PTSD models. The objective of this paper is to discuss some of the current models of PTSD and their associated psychological processes that have links to the self. Second, the paper reviews the literature highlighting the impact of cultural differences in self-construal on these processes. The paper, then, uses these links to draw the PTSD models into the cultural sphere. A model, 'Threat to the Conceptual Self' model, is developed. This is a working model that accounts for these two bodies of literature and suggests how cultural differences in the conceptual self may play a role in the etiology and maintenance of PTSD. Finally, clinical implications are discussed.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.03.002