Causal attribution, coping strategies, and combat‐related post‐traumatic stress disorder

Mario Mikulincer, Zahava Solomon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study assesses the intervening role of ways of coping in mediating the effects of causal attribution for negative events on combat‐related post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The sample consisted of Israeli soldiers who suffered a combat stress reaction episode during the 1982 Lebanon War and were followed 2 and 3 years after their participation in combat. The results showed that an attribution of negative events to stable and uncontrollable causes was associated with both a more frequent use of emotion‐focused coping and a less frequent use of problem‐focused coping. It was also found that emotion‐focused coping and problem‐focused coping were more direct antecedents of combat‐related PTSD than causal attribution. Finally, it was found that the association between causal attribution and combat‐related PTSD was mediated by variations in emotion‐focused coping. The discussion attempts to integrate theoretical notions derived from attributional models and Lazarus and Folkman's stress‐coping model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-284
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1989


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