Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) assumes that rational beliefs act as cognitive protective factors against the development of psychopathology; however little empirical evidence exists regarding the nature of the possible protective effects that they offer.
The current study investigates whether rational beliefs moderate the impact of irrational beliefs on posttraumatic stress symptomology (PTS).
Three hundred and thirteen active law enforcement, military, and related emergency service personnel took part in the current study. Sequential moderated multiple regression analysis was employed to investigate: (i) the direct impact of irrational beliefs on PTS; (ii) the direct impact of rational beliefs on PTS; (iii) the moderating effects of rational beliefs in the relationship between irrational beliefs and PTS.
The irrational beliefs predicted by REBT theory emerged as critical predictors of PTS symptomology, in particular Depreciation beliefs. Rational beliefs (Preferences, and Acceptance beliefs) had a direct, negative impact on levels of PTS, and Acceptance beliefs moderated the impact of Catastrophizing beliefs on PTS.
Irrational beliefs are important cognitive vulnerability factors in symptoms of PTS, while rational beliefs (Acceptance) appear to have a protective role in the emergence of PTS symptoms, both directly and by moderating the impact of Catastrophizing beliefs.