Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Matthew . Price


The majority of adults in the United States will experience a potentially traumatic event (PTE) during their lifetime, yet only a small subset will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is evidence to suggest that the period of time immediately following the trauma (the acute post-trauma period) may be particularly important in determining which individuals develop PTSD. The current study examined trajectories of PTSD symptom severity across the acute post-trauma period and if membership in these trajectories was predictive of PTSD symptom severity 1- and 3-months post-trauma. Utilizing Latent Class Growth Analysis (LCGA), four trajectories were identified: low and decreasing, moderate and decreasing, moderate-high and consistent, and high and consistent. Further, trajectory membership in the acute post-trauma period was found to predict differences in PTSD symptom severity at both 1- and 3- months post-trauma. Specifically, there were significant differences between 1-month PTSD symptoms for all trajectories, such that the “low and decreasing,” “moderate and decreasing,” “moderate-high and consistent,” and “high and consistent” trajectories were associated with increasing severity of PTSD symptoms, respectively. There were significant differences between 3-month PTSD symptoms for all trajectories except the “moderate-high and consistent” and “high and consistent” trajectories. These findings highlight a relationship between PTSD symptoms during the acute post-trauma period and those that are observed at a later point.



Number of Pages

40 p.