Event Title

The Influence of Emotion Regulation Strategies in the Relationship Between Social Support and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms among Survivors of Sexual Assault

Presenter Information

Seallong Sechang

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Session Number

3

Location

RM 215

Juror Names

Moderator: Dr. Alexandru Roman

Start Date

5-21-2015 5:20 PM

End Date

5-21-2015 5:40 PM

Abstract

Sexual assault (SA) can be damaging to a woman’s mental and physical health (Campbell, et al., 2009). Social support is a resilience factor in posttraumatic adjustment among SA victims (Borja, Callahan, & Long, 2006). Emotion regulation (ER) may account for this association, and is described with two approaches: cognitive reappraisal and thought suppression. Cognitive re-appraisal, an adaptive strategy, describes how an individual re-interprets a situation following the emotional response. Thought suppression, a maladaptive technique, involves the voluntary inhibition of an emotional response (Gross & John, 2003). The present study examined the influence of ER in the relationship between social support and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity. Female college students (N = 120), who reported a history of SA, completed measures of PTSD symptom severity, social support, and use of ER strategies. Results revealed PTSD symptoms were significantly correlated with social support (r = -.30, p < .01) and thought suppression (r = .31, p < .01), but not cognitive reappraisal (r = .00, p > .05). Social support was significantly negatively associated with thought suppression (r = -40, p < .01), and positively with cognitive reappraisal (r = .24, p < .05). Findings suggest that social support leads to reduced engagement in maladaptive ER strategies, such as thought suppression, thereby reducing risk of PTSD severity. Similarly, individuals who engage in thought suppression may be disinclined to seek social support. Implications for treatment highlight the need to improve utilization of social support and ER capacities among SA survivors.

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May 21st, 5:20 PM May 21st, 5:40 PM

The Influence of Emotion Regulation Strategies in the Relationship Between Social Support and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms among Survivors of Sexual Assault

RM 215

Sexual assault (SA) can be damaging to a woman’s mental and physical health (Campbell, et al., 2009). Social support is a resilience factor in posttraumatic adjustment among SA victims (Borja, Callahan, & Long, 2006). Emotion regulation (ER) may account for this association, and is described with two approaches: cognitive reappraisal and thought suppression. Cognitive re-appraisal, an adaptive strategy, describes how an individual re-interprets a situation following the emotional response. Thought suppression, a maladaptive technique, involves the voluntary inhibition of an emotional response (Gross & John, 2003). The present study examined the influence of ER in the relationship between social support and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity. Female college students (N = 120), who reported a history of SA, completed measures of PTSD symptom severity, social support, and use of ER strategies. Results revealed PTSD symptoms were significantly correlated with social support (r = -.30, p < .01) and thought suppression (r = .31, p < .01), but not cognitive reappraisal (r = .00, p > .05). Social support was significantly negatively associated with thought suppression (r = -40, p < .01), and positively with cognitive reappraisal (r = .24, p < .05). Findings suggest that social support leads to reduced engagement in maladaptive ER strategies, such as thought suppression, thereby reducing risk of PTSD severity. Similarly, individuals who engage in thought suppression may be disinclined to seek social support. Implications for treatment highlight the need to improve utilization of social support and ER capacities among SA survivors.