Summary This research was designed to determine whether there is a relationship between coping style and posttraumatic nightmares in people with posttraumatic stress disorder. A distinction has been made between active and passive coping. The role of social support and demographic characteristics in relation to posttraumatic nightmares has also been investigated. We expected that participants with a passive coping style would report more nightmares and rate these as more intense than people with an active coping style. A hundred and thirty-six clients who received treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder at Centrum ’45, the national centre for medical-psychological treatment for members of the resistance and victims of war and organized violence, participated in this research. At the start of the treatment several questionnaires were administered, three of these instruments (COPE-EASY, ZIL and NITE) were included in the analyses. Multivariate analyses revealed active coping and sex to predict the occurrence of posttraumatic nightmares. Women and clients with a more active coping style reported less posttraumatic nightmares. In addition, avoidance substantially influenced the impact of the posttraumatic nightmares with clients performing more avoidance reporting more intense posttraumatic nightmares. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed. In the future more research is needed to examine the relationship between copingstyle and posttraumatic nightmares
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