Date Approved

2-15-2013

Date Posted

6-20-2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Dean Lauterbach, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Steven Huprich, PhD

Committee Member

John Knapp, PhD

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common disorder in the general population with a lifetime prevalence of 7.8% (females 10.4%; males 5.0%; Kessler et al, 1995). PTSD can become debilitating and can significantly affect an individual’s social and occupational functioning. Consequently, it is essential to better understand the factors associated with development and maintenance of PTSD. Research has documented the benefits of social support in the prevention and treatment of PTSD. However, it is unclear whether other variables moderate the effectiveness and desirability of social support. Currently, the empirical literature examining the role of potential moderators of social support (e.g. specific personality characteristics) is sparse. The goal of this study was to examine if two personality variables, schizoid and schizotypal personality traits, moderate the relationship between social support and PTSD. It was hypothesized that individuals who scored high on measures of these personality traits will report less benefit from social support following a traumatic event than individuals who scored low on measures of these traits. Participants (n = 386) were recruited from undergraduate classes at a moderate sized Midwestern university via in-class presentations and posted flyers. Results indicate that perceived social support is associated with lower PTSD symptom severity. Further, both schizoid and schizotypal personality traits are associated with elevated severity of PTSD, while schizotypal personality traits are associated with increased trauma exposure. Finally, schizoid personality traits significantly moderate the relationship between perceived social support and PTSD symptom severity.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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