Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Stephen M. Auerbach


In the present study, airline employees undergoing highly realistic but simulated captivity as hostages were given one of three types of prestress training programs. One group of subjects was given Problem (P)-focused training, which emphasized activities which would be useful in actively manipulating the stress situation. A second group was given Emotion (E)-focused training which emphasized techniques designed to help them directly modulate fear and anxiety associated with the situation. A third (control) group was given no specific stress management training. Retrospective data from the Ways of Coping Check List indicated that subjects tended to engage in the type of coping activity for which they were trained Data from the STAI State -Anxiety scale indicated that stress levels fluctuated dramatically over the course of the experiment, with the greatest changes observed for subjects classified as externals on the Locus of Control Scale who had received P-focused training. This group of subjects also showed the poorest adjustment as measured by the SCL-90). Overall, subjects who received E-focused training showed the best adjustment (as measured by the SCL-90 and the PIP behavioral rating scale). Better adjusting subjects also tended to be perceived as high in Friendliness and Dominance and low in Submissiveness and Hostility by their captors, and they tended to perceive their captors as Friendly and Dominant (as measured by the Impact Message Inventory). The findings were discussed in terms of the stress and coping literature, and their implications for implementation in future stress management programs for potential hostages.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


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