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Cognitive theories suggest the manner in which individuals process trauma-related information influences posttraumatic sequelae. Interpretations about trauma can be maladaptive and lead to cognitive distortions implicated in the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through the processes of overaccommodation and assimilation. Alternatively, adaptive interpretations about trauma through the process of accommodation can lead to post-trauma resilience and recovery. The Trauma-Related Cognitions Scale (TRCS) provides a measure of beliefs associated with these cognitive processes. The TRCS was developed over the course of four phases. During Phase 1, 94 items derived from previously validated trauma cognition/beliefs measures were aggregated with 40 items developed by the authors. Phase 2 investigated the TRCS factor structure by fitting exploratory factor analysis (EFA) models to data from a non-clinical sample, resulting in a reduced 69-item TRCS representing four factors: the three theoretical cognitive processes of overaccommodation, assimilation, and accommodation, and an additional optimism factor. Phases 3 and 4 fit confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) models of the 69-item TRCS in a new non-clinical and a clinical sample, respectively, and further validation analyses were conducted. Initial evidence suggests the TRCS is a valid and reliable measure of trauma beliefs. Continued validation can determine its utility in both research and clinical contexts.


Published in PLoS ONE, Volume 16, Issue 4, 2021, by the Public Library of Science. Available via doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0250221.

© 2021 Valdez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.