Adverse childhood experiences and posttraumatic stress as an antecedent of anxiety and lower hope.

It is well established in literature that hope is an important psychological strength associated with resilience and overall psychological well-being. Early research also indicates that both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety have a negative relationship with hope. To better understand the potential mechanisms of the relationship between childhood trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and hope, we conducted a cross-sectional study of homeless individuals residing in the south central United States (N = 180). The study measured individual differences in the experience of childhood trauma, PTSD symptoms, anxiety, and hope. Based on the hope theory by C.R. Snyder, we hypothesized that PTSD has a negative relationship with hope because trauma memories can be “attention robbers” that take one’s focus off developing pathways toward future goals. The result is greater anxiety and lower hope. To test this theory, covariance-based structural equation modeling was used to evaluate a model of the variables in the sequential order as follows: (a) adverse childhood experiences, (b) PTSD symptoms, (c) increased anxiety, and (d) lower hope. The results indicated that the observed data produced a “good fit” to a model based on Snyder’s theory (χ2 = 419.38; df = 247; p = < 001; root mean square error of approximation = .06 [90% confidence interval: .05, .07]; comparative fit index = .93; standardized root mean square residual = .06). Such a result suggests that future research is needed with survivors of childhood trauma to further explore mechanisms, such as "attention robbing,” that may link PTSD to greater anxiety and less hope. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)