Perceptions of defeat and entrapment

How are perceptions of defeat and entrapment related to PTSD?

Perceived defeat involves a perception of powerlessness from the loss or significant disruption of social status, identity, or hierarchical goals. A failure to attain, or loss of, valued social and material resources may induce perceptions of defeat. Social put-downs or attacks from others, and internal perceptions of self-criticism, worthlessness, and incompetence can also induce perceptions of defeat.

Perceived entrapment occurs when the usual motivation to escape threat or stress is blocked. This could be due to no or low likelihood of individual agency or rescue by others. Having a difficult job or relationship, being in an unwanted role as a caregiver, personal health problems, and unwanted negative thoughts or emotions are all examples of events that may induce perceptions of entrapment.

What is the evidence for perceptions of defeat and entrapment in people with PTSD?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds increased severity of PTSD symptoms, such as intrusions, avoidance, hyperarousal, and negative thoughts and mood, are related to increased feelings of defeat and entrapment.

August 2021

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Last updated at: 12:28 am, 8th October 2021
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