Date of Graduation

Spring 2018


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Erin Buchanan


posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, generativity, anxiety buffer disruption theory, terror management, first responders

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Theory and Philosophy


Anxiety buffer disruption theory (ABDT) is an application of terror management theory to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ABDT predicts that posttraumatic stress reactions occur when buffers of awareness of death, such as meaning in life, self-esteem, and social intimacy, fail to suppress overwhelming death-anxiety. The author suggested that generativity may also serve as an effective buffer of awareness of death. The present study investigated the presence of anxiety buffering disruption in first responders with PTSD via a mediation path model of self-report measures of PTSD symptoms, anxiety buffer variables, and death-though accessibility. While results indicate PTSD symptoms have a small relation to increased awareness of death, results indicate anxiety buffering variables account for an insignificant portion of the relation between PTSD symptoms and awareness of death. Nonetheless, generativity and meaning in life, self-esteem, and social support are significant predictors of lower levels of PTSD.


© David Joseph Herr

Open Access