Masters Theses

Orcid ID

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Gina P. Owens

Committee Members

Dawn Szymanski, Kirsten Gonzalez


The present study investigated the potential moderating effects of optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy on the relationships between subjective social status and both posttraumatic stress and depression symptom severity in a sample of undergraduate students (N = 382, M = 19.4, SD = 1.6, 81.5% White, 60.9% cisgender women) who reported experiencing one or more traumatic events. Many participants reported the highest education level attained by at least one parent being beyond a college degree (69%). Participants completed measures assessing trauma history, subjective social status, PTSD and depression symptoms, and potential psychological resources of optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy. In the model predicting depression severity, results showed that low SSS predicted more severe depression symptoms after controlling for SES. After controlling for SES and SSS, low optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy were significant predictors of higher depression symptom severity. In the model predicting PTSS severity, low optimism and resilience were the only significant predictors of higher PTSS. Moderation analyses showed that the relationships between subjective social status and symptoms of posttraumatic stress and depression were not moderated by optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy. These findings could have potential implications for the focus of treatment with young adult survivors of trauma across social classes.

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