Psychosocial Aspects of Coping that Predict PTSD for African American Survivors of Homicide Victims
African Americans disproportionately experience homicide, and the psychological consequence of experiencing this traumatic event interferes with daily function, often in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the Model of Coping for African American Survivors of Homicide Victims (MCAASHV), African Americans coping with the traumatic impact of homicide are influenced by: the violent nature of the death itself, racial- and cultural-bound experiences (e.g., cultural trauma, the culture of homicide including stigma, blame, shame, and lack of justice) and psychological processes including racial appraisal and coping strategies (e.g., spiritual, collective, meaning making). This study examined the direct and indirect effects racial- and cultural-bound experiences have on PTSD through coping strategies among 304 African American survivors of homicide victims across the United States using Qualtrics Panel collected in March-May 2018. The path analysis model demonstrated strong model fit, and the variables in the model accounted for 34% variance in PTSD. Coping (β = -0.38, p < .001) and culture of homicide (β = -0.27, p < .001) were negatively related to PTSD. Cultural trauma (β = 0.11, p < .014), culture of homicide (β = 0.43, p < .001), reactions to homicide (β = 0.11, p < .006) and racial appraisal (β = 0.32, p < .001) were positively associated with coping (R2 = 52%), and all were indirectly associated with PTSD through coping. Findings provide strong support for the MCAASHV and highlight the direct and indirect effects of racial and cultural experiences of coping that explain PTSD among African Americans chronically exposed to homicide.