Event Title

The Influence Of Coping Strategies In The Relationship Between Self-Blame And Ptsd And Depressive Symptom Severity Among Survivors Of Sexual Assault

Presenter Information

Monica Aguilar

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Session Number

1

Location

RM 218

Juror Names

Moderator: Dr. Donna Garcia

Start Date

5-21-2015 2:20 PM

End Date

5-21-2015 2:40 PM

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are potential psychological consequences of exposure to sexual assault (Campbell, Dworkin, & Cabral, 2009). Maladaptive trauma-related cognitive appraisals (i.e., self-blame) have been associated with poorer posttrauma adjustment (Campbell et al., 2009). The manner in which an individual copes with trauma-related emotions and thoughts may determine their risk of developing PTSD and depression. The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of coping strategies in the association between self-blame and psychological distress (i.e., PTSD and depressive symptoms). Our sample was comprised of 120 female college students who reported prior exposure to sexual assault. Participants completed questionnaires assessing demographic information, trauma exposure, PTSD symptomology, depressive symptoms, posttraumatic cognitions, and coping strategies. Results revealed positive associations between PTSD symptoms and self-blame (r = .36, p < .001), emotional support (r = .21, p < .05), instrumental support (r = .19, p < .05), and substance use (r = .34, p < .001). Self-blame (r = .49, p < .001), emotional support (r = .19, p < .05), and substance use (r = .49, p < .001), but not instrumental support (p > .05), were also positively associated with depressive symptoms. Self-blame was positively correlated with use of emotional support (r = .33, p < .001), instrumental support (r = .24, p <.01), and substance use (r = .31, p < .01) coping strategies. Findings from mediational analyses revealed that substance use emerged as the only significant mediator between selfblame and PTSD (F (4, 115) = 8.62; 95% CI: Lower Limit .03 to Upper Limit .32, p < .05) and self-blame and depressive symptoms (F (4, 115) = 17.34; 95% CI: Lower Limit .07 to Upper Limit .37, p < .05). Findings are consistent with prior literature suggesting that sexual assault survivors may turn to substances to cope with the intrusive thoughts and negative emotions, thereby leading to the development and maintenance of PTSD and depressive symptoms. Findings have important treatment implications and highlight the need for future research devoted to investigating potential ways to promote active coping strategies (i.e., seeking treatment) among survivors of sexual assault.

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May 21st, 2:20 PM May 21st, 2:40 PM

The Influence Of Coping Strategies In The Relationship Between Self-Blame And Ptsd And Depressive Symptom Severity Among Survivors Of Sexual Assault

RM 218

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are potential psychological consequences of exposure to sexual assault (Campbell, Dworkin, & Cabral, 2009). Maladaptive trauma-related cognitive appraisals (i.e., self-blame) have been associated with poorer posttrauma adjustment (Campbell et al., 2009). The manner in which an individual copes with trauma-related emotions and thoughts may determine their risk of developing PTSD and depression. The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of coping strategies in the association between self-blame and psychological distress (i.e., PTSD and depressive symptoms). Our sample was comprised of 120 female college students who reported prior exposure to sexual assault. Participants completed questionnaires assessing demographic information, trauma exposure, PTSD symptomology, depressive symptoms, posttraumatic cognitions, and coping strategies. Results revealed positive associations between PTSD symptoms and self-blame (r = .36, p < .001), emotional support (r = .21, p < .05), instrumental support (r = .19, p < .05), and substance use (r = .34, p < .001). Self-blame (r = .49, p < .001), emotional support (r = .19, p < .05), and substance use (r = .49, p < .001), but not instrumental support (p > .05), were also positively associated with depressive symptoms. Self-blame was positively correlated with use of emotional support (r = .33, p < .001), instrumental support (r = .24, p <.01), and substance use (r = .31, p < .01) coping strategies. Findings from mediational analyses revealed that substance use emerged as the only significant mediator between selfblame and PTSD (F (4, 115) = 8.62; 95% CI: Lower Limit .03 to Upper Limit .32, p < .05) and self-blame and depressive symptoms (F (4, 115) = 17.34; 95% CI: Lower Limit .07 to Upper Limit .37, p < .05). Findings are consistent with prior literature suggesting that sexual assault survivors may turn to substances to cope with the intrusive thoughts and negative emotions, thereby leading to the development and maintenance of PTSD and depressive symptoms. Findings have important treatment implications and highlight the need for future research devoted to investigating potential ways to promote active coping strategies (i.e., seeking treatment) among survivors of sexual assault.