Author

Angela Bush

Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Department

College of Sciences and Health Professions

First Advisor

Ilya Yaroslavsky

Subject Headings

Clinical Psychology

Abstract

The present study examined whether childhood sexual abuse (CSA) predicts depression-related outcomes indirectly via stress sensitivity and emotion regulation (ER) deficits or whether ER difficulties mediate the relationship between CSA and stress sensitivity. Both stress sensitivity and ER deficits have been examined as mechanisms that increase depression risk for those with CSA histories, however their interplay has been largely understudies. Competing models of CSA, stress sensitivity, ER deficits and depression symptoms and affects in daily life were examined. Community dwelling and undergraduate participants (N=99) reported CSA histories via a psychosocial interview, completed measures of trait ER repertoires, perceived stress and depression symptoms, and a 7-day Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) protocol that measured hourly positive (PA) and negative affect (NA) and stress. Multiple mediation models and moderated mediation models were fit to examine study hypotheses. Results suggest that those with CSA histories evidence stress sensitivity for depressive affects, but not depression symptoms. Further, those with such histories tend to exhibit more maladaptive ER repertoires, but this experience was unrelated to adaptive repertoires. Maladaptive ER repertoires mediated the effects of CSA on depression symptoms as well as the effects of CSA on depressive affects via stress sensitivity. Findings emphasize the adverse effects of maladaptive ER responses within this population and suggest that these responses should be a key target of treatment for these individuals.

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