Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Access to Services Among Human Rights Advocates: The Mediating Roles of Organizational Encouragement of Support Seeking and Occupation-Related Appraisals

McKenna F. Parnes, Rohini Bagrodia, Katie Wightman, Ria Singh-Sawhney, Margaret L. Satterthwaite, Sarah Knuckey, Richard A. Bryant, Adam D. Brown

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Human rights advocates are routinely exposed to direct and secondary trauma. In addition, a growing body of research has found that trauma exposure in human rights work is associated with depression, burnout, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in human rights advocates. Despite the potential mental health risks associated with advocacy, little is known about the ways in which organizational and individual factors contribute to mental health symptoms, such as PTSD, in this population. Human rights advocates (N = 346) completed an online survey assessing access to psychological services, perceived organizational encouragement of support seeking, occupation-related appraisals, and symptoms of PTSD. Structural equation modeling revealed an indirect association between access to psychological services and lower levels of PTSD through perceived organizational encouragement of support seeking and less negative occupation-related appraisals. This study is the first to demonstrate that access to mental health support in human rights organizations may contribute to a reduction in PTSD symptoms when advocates feel a sense of efficacy and support from their organization to seek help.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalPsychological Services
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

    Keywords

    • Cognitive appraisals
    • Human rights advocates
    • Posttraumatic stress disorder
    • Social support
    • Treatment access

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Applied Psychology

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