The Moderating Role of Rational Beliefs in the Relationship between Irrational Beliefs and Posttraumatic Stress Symptomology

Philip Hyland, M Shevlin, Gary Adamson, Daniel Boduszek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-326
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number3
Early online date12 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - May 2014


  • Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Symptomology (PTS)
  • rational beliefs
  • irrational beliefs
  • moderation


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