Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Dr. Jane Brack

Second Advisor

Dr. Catherine Y. Chang

Third Advisor

Dr. Melissa Zeligman

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brian J. Dew


Community violence exposure is associated with a myriad of physical and mental health problems and adjustment difficulties (Fowler, Tompsett, Braciszewski, Jacques-Tiura & Baltes, 2009; Senn, Walsh & Carey, 2016 ; Voisin, Chen, Fullilove & Jacobson, 2015). However, the research that investigates the adult mental health consequences of community violence exposure within the context of other potentially traumatic events is still emerging (Walling, Eriksson, Putman & Foy, 2011; Kennedy, Bybee & Greeson, 2014 ). This dissertation responds to this gap in the literature. This study investigated the interrelationships among violence exposures in community, school, family and intimate relationships and PTSD symptoms. The study also examined whether child abuse, intimate partner violence and school bullying moderated the relationship between community violence exposure and PTSD. The researcher collected data from 499 undergraduate students using a demographic questionnaire, the Trauma Symptom Checklist -40 (Briere & Runtz, 1989), the Survey of Exposure to Community Violence (SECV; Richters & Saltzman, 1990), the Retrospective Bully Questionnaire (RBQ; Schäfer, et al,2004), the Composite Abuse Scale (Hegarty, Bush, Sheehan, 2005) and the Early Trauma Inventory-Self Report (ETI-SR; Bremner, Bolus & Mayer, 2007). Bivariate correlations revealed significant, positive correlations between PTSD and community violence exposure (r =.264, p < .01), school bullying (r = .242, p < .01), intimate partner violence (r = .327, p < .01) and child abuse (r = .292, p < .01). Community violence, child abuse, intimate partner violence and school bully significantly predicted the variance in PTSD symptoms. The study found that child abuse, intimate partner violence and school bullying scores were (β = -.000, t (216) = -.027, p >.01) not substantial moderators for the relationship between community violence and PTSD with this sample F(211) = 8.067, p < .01, R2 = .192 ) . Demographic differences in PTSD symptoms and community violence exposure were observed.