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Posttraumatic Stress and Perceived Interpersonal Provocation in Adolescents
Journal of Interpersonal Violence  (IF2.621),  Pub Date : 2022-05-25, DOI: 10.1177/08862605221104525
Jonathan Marshall Saunderson, Andrew Stickley, Knut Sturidsson, Roman Koposov, Denis G. Sukhodolsky, Vladislav Ruchkin

Objective: To examine the impact of posttraumatic stress on the choice of responses to and attribution of intentionality in peer provocation in adolescent boys and girls. Methods: A sample of 2678 adolescents from Northern Russia, aged 13–17 years (59.3% female; 95.7% ethnic Russian) completed self-reports on posttraumatic stress and rated hypothetical peer provocation scenarios that teenagers can encounter in their daily lives. Results: Adolescents with clinically significant levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms (n=184 (6.8%)) reported a different pattern of reactions to peer provocation as compared to all other adolescents. Boys and girls with high levels of posttraumatic symptoms reported that they would be less likely to discuss conflict situations and more likely to react with physical aggression. Compared to their male counterparts, girls with high levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms were more likely to endorse hostile intentions, avoid provocations, and were less likely to endorse verbally aggressive responses. In provocation scenarios that involved physical aggression, girls with high levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms were less likely to endorse verbal aggressive responses and more likely to endorse physically aggressive responses than girls without clinically significant levels of posttraumatic symptoms. Girls with high levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms were also more likely to avoid socially aggressive situations than non-traumatized girls, whereas boys had an opposite pattern. Conclusions: High levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms may play a significant role in the endorsement of aggressive reactions in conflicts with peers and patterns of reactions may be gender-specific. A history of posttraumatic stress should be carefully evaluated in children and adolescents seeking treatment for aggressive behavior.