Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

John N Young

Second Advisor

Laura R Johnson

Third Advisor

Scott A Gustafson

School

University of Mississippi

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

Recent studies suggest that difficulties in emotion regulation (ER) or emotion dysregulation (ED) mediate the association between trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in adults and adolescents. However, elucidating how the specific facets of emotion dysregulation may differentially mediate the development of PTSS following trauma in adolescents could benefit the formation of more targeted interventions for PTSS in traumatized youth. The current study examined whether facets of ED mediated the relationship between exposure to traumatic events and PTSS in an ethnically diverse sample of adolescents residing in an inpatient psychiatric facility in Mississippi. Due to prior scholarship finding gender differences in trauma exposure, difficulties in facets of ER, and the development of PTSS, the moderating effect of gender was also explored. Participants included 154 youth (77 females and males) aged 12-17 (M = 14.35, SD = 1.44), who reported their trauma history, current PTSS, and difficulties in ER. Results suggest that ED as a total construct mediated the relationship between trauma and PTSD-symptoms, however only the facet of difficulties accessing/engaging ER strategies significantly mediated the same relationship separately. Gender differences were absorbed in frequencies of trauma and types of trauma, PTSS, and ED, but gender did not moderate any of the relationships between the variables. These results highlight the potential of examining facets of ED and ED as a total construct in the development of PTSD symptoms in adolescents. However, future research should validate measures of ED in diverse, understudied, and at-risk populations and explore targeted interventions suited to these populations.

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