Understanding experiental avoidance as a mediator of rape-induced posttraumatic stress disorder
AuthorBoeschen, Laura Elizabeth
AdvisorBecker, Judith V.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDoes experiential avoidance predict PTSD severity among rape survivors? In the first of two studies, a hypothesized model was tested where causal attributions, cognitive schemas, and memory characteristics mediated the relationship between experiential avoidance and PTSD. Data were cross-sectional. Participants were rape survivors (N = 139; 23% with current PTSD). Results included a measurement model of social cognitive factors and PTSD and the structural model. Two sets of pathways were delineated--both exacerbated PTSD. Overall, 60% of the variance in PTSD was explained. The results suggested that the effects of experiential avoidance on psychological outcomes, although detrimental, were minimal. Causal attributions and maladaptive belief changes were far more powerful than any other predictors in explaining prolonged distress. Neither process was strongly affected by levels of avoidance. In a second study, several factors that could potentially influence and predict the use of experiential avoidance as a coping mechanism were investigated. Both pre-trauma survivor characteristics and characteristics of the rape were evaluated to help explain why some survivors engaged in a maladaptive avoidance coping strategy. Results suggested that a background of violence was an important predictor of experiential avoidance. Women who had already survived a history of violence were the most likely to engage in experiential avoidance to cope with an adult rape experience.
Degree ProgramGraduate College