Event Title

The Relationship between Shame, PTSD Symptoms and Attributional Style among Survivors of Sexual Assault

Presenter Information

Andrea Barrera

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation/Art Exihibt

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Location

Event Center A & B

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Christina Hassija

Start Date

5-19-2016 1:00 PM

End Date

5-19-2016 2:30 PM

Abstract

College campuses are thought to be safe heavens where students can attain an education. However, there are many crimes that can still be perpetrated on campus, and sexual assault is among those crimes. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicates that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have experienced rape at some time in their lives (Black et al., 2011). Among college populations rates are higher, with 25% of women being likely to experience victimization during their undergraduate years (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000). Upon experiencing a potentially unexpected/unpleasant event, individuals often create causal attributions in an effort to make meaning (Joseph, Yule, & Williams, 1993). Maladaptive attributions can complicate recovery and lead to the development of a psychological disorder. For example, self-blaming attributions have been associated with poorer outcomes among survivors of sexual assault (Campbell, Dworkin, & Cabral, 2009). Additionally, increased PTSD symptoms have been associated with stable and global attributions among individuals who have been exposed to traumatic events (Gray & Lombardo, 2003). These attributions may enhance survivors’ experiences of shame, or lead to maladaptive self-schemas (Vidal & Petrak, 2007). The present study sought to elucidate the effects of shame on PTSD symptom severity and quality of attributions in survivors of sexual assault. We hypothesized that pessimistic attributions would be positively associated with PTSD symptom severity, PTSD symptom severity and pessimistic attributions would be positively correlated with perceived shame, and that shame would mediate the relationship the relationship between PTSD and pessimissistic attributions.

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May 19th, 1:00 PM May 19th, 2:30 PM

The Relationship between Shame, PTSD Symptoms and Attributional Style among Survivors of Sexual Assault

Event Center A & B

College campuses are thought to be safe heavens where students can attain an education. However, there are many crimes that can still be perpetrated on campus, and sexual assault is among those crimes. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicates that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have experienced rape at some time in their lives (Black et al., 2011). Among college populations rates are higher, with 25% of women being likely to experience victimization during their undergraduate years (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000). Upon experiencing a potentially unexpected/unpleasant event, individuals often create causal attributions in an effort to make meaning (Joseph, Yule, & Williams, 1993). Maladaptive attributions can complicate recovery and lead to the development of a psychological disorder. For example, self-blaming attributions have been associated with poorer outcomes among survivors of sexual assault (Campbell, Dworkin, & Cabral, 2009). Additionally, increased PTSD symptoms have been associated with stable and global attributions among individuals who have been exposed to traumatic events (Gray & Lombardo, 2003). These attributions may enhance survivors’ experiences of shame, or lead to maladaptive self-schemas (Vidal & Petrak, 2007). The present study sought to elucidate the effects of shame on PTSD symptom severity and quality of attributions in survivors of sexual assault. We hypothesized that pessimistic attributions would be positively associated with PTSD symptom severity, PTSD symptom severity and pessimistic attributions would be positively correlated with perceived shame, and that shame would mediate the relationship the relationship between PTSD and pessimissistic attributions.