Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Gina P. Owens

Committee Members

Joseph Miles, Dawn M. Szymanski


The present study investigated the associations between self-compassion, self-blame, disengagement coping, and PTSD and depression symptom severity in a volunteer sample of women (n = 207) who experienced one or more incidents of forced sexual contact in adulthood. The mean age of the participants was 27.07 (SD = 9.62), and the majority identified as Caucasian (85.5%). Participants completed a survey assessing trauma history, post-traumatic stress disorder symptom severity, depression symptom severity, disengagement coping, self-blame attributions, and self-compassion. The results from the hierarchical regression analyses showed that CSA history, characterological self-blame (CSB), behavioral self-blame (BSB), and disengagement coping significantly predicted PTSD symptom severity, and CSB and self-compassion significantly predicted depression symptom severity. Mediational analyses showed that the relationship between self-compassion and PTSD was fully mediated by disengagement coping, CSB, and BSB, and the relationship between self-compassion and depression was partially mediated by CSB. These findings have potential implications for the focus of treatment with survivors of adult sexual assault.

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