Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Kate Nooner

Committee Member

Laura Lakusta

Committee Member

Jason Dickinson


Exposure to trauma can lead to an array of maladaptive behaviors and an extensive range of physical, emotional, and psychological difficulties. In fact, researchers have linked trauma to the development of debilitating symptoms such as anxiety (Suliman et ah, 2009), psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia (Read, van Os, Morrison, & Ross, 2005) and risky behaviors such as substance abuse (Danielson et ah, 2009). Unfortunately, studies examining the consequences of trauma often do so using clinical samples, limiting the generalizability of those results. Thus, the current study sought to characterize trauma in a community sample. Data analyzed for the present study was derived from a larger study assessing psychological functioning across the lifespan. Participants included 143 adult men and women ages 18 to 58- years old. Consistent with the hypothesis, significant results revealed that participants diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder had higher trauma scores than participants without a psychiatric disorder. Moreover, participants with higher trauma scores were significantly more likely to report greater levels of depressive symptomatology, internalizing problems and externalizing problems. Interestingly, higher trauma scores were also associated with heavy drinking but were not associated with illicit drug use or risky sexual activities.

File Format


Included in

Psychology Commons