Background: 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. Aims: The current study investigates whether rational beliefs moderate the impact of irrational beliefs on posttraumatic stress symptomology (PTS). Method: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.
- Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)
- Posttraumatic Stress Symptomology (PTS)
- rational beliefs
- irrational beliefs