Date of Award

11-13-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Gregory L. Brack - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Catharina Chang - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Catherine J. Brack - Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

JoAnna F. White - Committee Member

Abstract

Female survivors of multiple forms of trauma are increasingly found to be a significant portion of the university population (Briere, Kaltman, & Green 2008). While there is a strong literature base for understanding the effects of individual trauma on psychological functioning (e.g., Briere, 1992; Kaltman, Krumnick, Stockton, Hooper, & Green, 2005), little is known about specific symptom constellations for those who have experienced multiple traumas (Rich, Gingerich, & Roseìn, 1997). Using a clinical population of 500 female university students, this study explored the rates of multiple interpersonal traumatic experiences, the connection between multiple traumas and symptom severity, and the association of specific constellations of multiple types of traumas with specific constellations of trauma symptoms. The Trauma Symptom Inventory-Alternate (Briere, 1995) and self-report measures of demographic data and abuse histories were used to collect data, which was analyzed with frequencies, Multivariate Analysis of Variance, and a Canonical Correlation to explore the interrelationships of abuse and trauma symptoms. Multiple abuse was common, with 81% of participants experiencing two or more types of abuse. Multiple trauma generally predicted more severe trauma-related symptoms than those with no trauma or single traumas. A Canonical Correlation revealed a moderately significant relationship between participants with aggressive types of abuse (e.g., childhood physical, adult physical, and adult sexual abuse) with higher symptoms of intrusive experiences, defensive-avoidance, and dissociation. These findings suggest a differential model of trauma effects, particularly for trauma types characterized by aggression. Implications for future research and clinical practice are addressed.

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