Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8902-9253

Year of Publication

2020

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Christal L. Badour

Abstract

Mental contamination (MC) – an internal sense of dirtiness experienced without contact with a contaminant – has been linked to PTSD symptoms among sexual trauma survivors. However, existing work has been limited to cross-sectional or quasi-experimental designs – precluding conclusions concerning the directionality of associations among PTSD symptoms and MC – and little work has examined potential mediators of those associations. The present study utilized a prospective design to evaluate the directionality of associations between MC and PTSD symptoms and the role of avoidance and approach coping in mediating those associations. Participants included 41 women with a history of sexual trauma and current MC. Women completed baseline measures followed by fourteen days of twice-daily assessments via a mobile application. Results indicated that avoidance coping mediated the associations between baseline MC and average daily PTSD symptoms (β = 0.30, SE = 0.14, 95% CI [0.06 , 0.58]) and baseline PTSD symptoms and average daily MC (β = 0.33, SE = 0.16, 95% CI [0.08 , 0.67]). Our findings support a mutual maintenance model of PTSD symptoms and MC mediated by avoidance coping. However, additional research conducted over a more extended period is warranted to better understand how MC and PTSD symptoms mutually influence one another.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2020.401

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