Monday, October 1, 2012

Jennifer Anne Knetig completes dissertation in the School of Psychology

Mentalization, Social Competence and the use of Social Support in a Military Population: the Impact on Post-Traumatic Stress, Jennifer Anne Knetig

Literatures exploring trauma and resilience in military populations have identified social support as fundamental to building a resistance against developing stress disorders. The etiology of this relationship remains unclear, however. The current study, grounded in the psychodynamic concept of mentalization, work in the areas of social competence, self- disclosure, and Carstensen’s research on aging further clarifies the relationship between social support and post-traumatic stress disorder. Research indicates considerable conceptual overlap between mentalization and two components of social competence: psychological mindedness and empathy. Psychological mindedness, a major aspect of mentalization, was negatively correlated with self-concealment, positively associated with help-seeking and social support, and was inversely associated with symptoms of PTSD in an active duty military population. A review of Carstensen’s work with emotional experience and aging indicates that emotional regulation and the quality of emotional experience improve with age; therefore, age was statistically controlled in this study. An acquaintance sample of 66 active duty military service members was recruited. Bivariate, canonical correlational analysis and path analysis were conducted to analyze the data

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