Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Keri Weed

Abstract

The current study explored the relationship between childhood trauma and deliberate rumination, as well as PTSD symptomology, psychological and physiological functioning. Participants consisted of 55 undergraduate students, ages 18-23; who completed measures about a specific traumatic event, psychological functioning, parental attachment, PTSD symptoms, deliberate rumination, childhood maltreatment, and a demographics questionnaire. Reported childhood trauma was a specifically identified traumatic life event, child maltreatment, or having a parent with a substance abuse or mental disorder. Following completion of measures, participants were asked to answer questions while heart rate, heart rate variability, and electrodermal activity were monitored. Results indicated there was relation among child maltreatment, psychological functioning, and physiological functioning. Further, results suggested that childhood maltreatment was associated with worse psychological functioning, specifically in the domains of interpersonal relationships, social roles, and symptom distress. It was also found that growing up with a parent who abused substances was correlated with having worse psychological functioning and higher heart rate. In addition, having a parent with mental illness was found to be correlated with having higher heart rate variability. Moreover, results suggest that those who experienced PTSD symptoms, as well as those who reported high maltreatment, had worse psychological functioning than those who did not. Finally, it was found that deliberate rumination was positively correlated with PTSD symptoms.