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Adult Attachment and Posttraumatic Growth in Sexual Assault Survivors.

Description: Posttraumatic growth, defined as positive psychological changes in the aftermath of adversity and suffering, is a relatively recent focus in psychological research. The addition of this concept to the literature has provided a new, more resiliency-based framework through which to view survivors of various forms of trauma. Despite estimates that over half of all sexual assaults are not reported to the authorities, current crime statistics indicate that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime (Campbell & Wasco, 2005). Given the large percentage of the population that is impacted by sexual assault, it is essential that professionals better understand the factors that influence the successful healing and growth that can occur post-trauma. The purpose of this study was to further expand the literature on posttraumatic growth in sexual assault survivors by considering this phenomenon through the lens of attachment theory. Specifically, this study tested a proposed model of the inter-relationships among subjective and objective perceptions of threat during the sexual assault, adult romantic attachment, and posttraumatic growth. It was hypothesized that adult romantic attachment and parent-child attachment would mediate the relationship between subjective, or perceived threat, defined as the victim's perception of life threat, and objective threat, defined as the severity of the sexually aggressive act perpetrated on the victim, and posttraumatic growth. Finally, it was hypothesized that subjective threat appraisal would better predict posttraumatic growth than objective threat appraisal. Contrary to hypotheses, results of the study indicated that adult romantic attachment and parent-child attachment did not mediate the relationship between subjective and objective threat appraisal and posttraumatic growth. Thus, both path analytic models were not viable. However, exploratory analysis indicated that both subjective and objective threat appraisal were directly related to posttraumatic growth, with subjective perceived threat appraisal accounting for more of the variance.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Gwynn, Stacy Roddy

Examining an eating disorder model with African American women.

Description: In the current study, I examined the general sociocultural model of eating disorders that suggests that sociocultural pressures leads to internalization, which in turn leads to body dissatisfaction and ultimately disordered eating. Because I am testing this model with a sample of African American women, I also am including acculturation as a variable of interest. Specifically, I hypothesized that (a) the experience of more societal pressure to be thin will be related to greater internalization, (b) higher levels of acculturation will be related to greater internalization, (c) internalization of the thin ideal will be directly and positively related to body image concern, and (d) body image concern will be associated with higher levels of disordered eating. It was determined that there is a direct, negative relationship between Level of Identification with Culture of Origin and Internalization. Perceived Pressure was directly and positively related to both Internalization and Body Image Concerns. Body Concerns and Internalization were both directly and positively related to Disordered Eating. These findings suggest that although many of the same constructs related to disordered eating in other ethnic groups are also related to disordered eating among African American women, the relationships between the factors differs across racial/ethnic groups. This information can help clinicians and researchers to better treat and understand the nature of disordered eating behavior and correlates among African American women.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Wood, Nikel Ayanna Rogers