Date of Award

Summer 8-31-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology

Department

Professional Psychology and Family Therapy

Advisor

Laura Palmer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karyn Smarz, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Margaret Brady-Amoon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Smith, Ed.D.

Keywords

child sexual abuse, adolescents, traumagenic dynamics, attitudes, relationships, family support, ethnic identity

Abstract

This study used the theory of traumagenic dynamics (TD) to examine how symptomatology resulting childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are related to the attitudes adolescent females have towards interpersonal relationships. The ultimate goal being that this understanding can inform the creation and implementation of empirically based clinical interventions that specifically target CSA-related symptoms which are associated with the endorsement of unhealthy attitudes towards romantic relationships. In examining this relationship, family support and ethnic identity were examined as protective factors against the endorsement of unhealthy attitudes towards romantic relationships, and trauma severity and the presence of domestic violence in the home were examined as a risk factors for the endorsement of unhealthy attitudes towards romantic relationships. Correlational, regression, and hierarchical regression analyses indicated that in this study’s sample: (a) TD symptoms were not related to attitudes toward romantic relationships, (b) exposure to domestic violence was not related to TD symptomatology, (c) greater trauma severity predicted a greater level of TD symptomatology but not a higher endorsement of unhealthy romantic relationships, (d) family support and ethnic identity were not correlated, (e) family support and ethnic identity served as a protective factors against endorsing unhealthy attitudes towards romantic relationships, and (f) family support served as a protective factor against experiencing TD symptoms. Findings support investigation of interventions that address trauma severity and attitudes towards romantic relationships and interventions that include family and ethnic community members.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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