Post-Traumatic Orientation to Bodily Signals: A Systematic Literature Review

Noga Tsur*, Ada Talmon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Theoretical literature suggests that trauma and (PTSD) may instigate changes in the interpretation of bodily signals. Some findings support these inquiries, revealing that exposure to traumatic events and PTSD are associated with pain catastrophizing, body vigilance, fear of pain, and other manifestations of bodily perceptions and interpretations. However, these findings are not integrated into an inclusive empirically based conceptualization, thus leading to a limited comprehension of this phenomenon. This systematic literature review was conducted to synthesize the existing literature referring to orientation to bodily signals. Using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, the review included a final of 48 manuscripts that addressed orientation to bodily signals among participants (aged 18 and above) and its potential associations with PTSD. The review revealed that most studies assessed one orientation manifestation, which was tested for its link to PTSD. The majority of the manuscripts were cross-sectional and included participants who faced combat, vehicle accidents, or various types of traumas. Only five manuscripts focused on interpersonal trauma and abuse. Most manuscripts reported significant correlations, revealing that trauma and PTSD are associated with a negative, catastrophic and frightful interpretation of bodily signals. These findings emphasize the need to encapsulate the various manifestations of orientation to bodily signals under a unified construct, as proposed by the term post-traumatic orientation to bodily signals. Further research is needed to illuminate the circumstances and processes by which trauma is implicated in post-traumatic orientation to bodily signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-188
Number of pages15
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • anxiety sensitivity
  • body vigilance
  • fear of pain
  • orientation to bodily signals
  • pain catastrophizing
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • trauma


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