Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Jenny Macfie

Committee Members

Kristina C. Gordon, Gina P. Owens, Edwin S. Rogers

Abstract

This study examined various types of trauma, with an emphasis on sexual trauma across the lifespan, in a clinical sample of male and female adult outpatients assessed for trauma, somatization, and dissociation. Two hundred forty-five adult outpatients at the University of Tennessee Psychological Clinic were administered the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), the Traumatic Experiences Checklist (TEC), and Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), as part of the routine intake procedure. Of those individuals, 200 patients completed the questionnaires correctly and were included in the final study sample. The experience of sexual trauma indeed accounted for additional variance in somatization scores over and above the experience of other types of trauma, although it did not account for additional variance in dissociation scores. Also somatization was significantly correlated with dissociation. On the other hand, gender did not significantly increase the likelihood of having greater somatization. Furthermore, somatization did not significantly moderate the relationship between trauma and dissociation nor did it affect the non-significant relationship between gender and dissociation. Also, surprisingly in this sample, age of onset of sexual trauma did not significantly increase the likelihood of having greater dissociation or somatization. Finally, the experience of having a family member perpetrator did not account for additional variance in dissociation or somatization scores over and above having a non-family member perpetrator.

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