Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Diana Jeffery

Abstract

Research has been accumulating on the positive outcomes that people may experience following trauma. However, scholarly literature is deficient in the area of investigating the association among centrality of event (CE), posttraumatic growth (PTG), and health behaviors of women with histories of sexual trauma. The purpose of this quantitative cross-sectional study was to (a) determine the extent of the relationship between CE and PTG, (b) explore the relationship between PTG and health behaviors (i.e., drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, and physical activity), and (c) to determine whether general self-efficacy (SE) mediated these relationships. The theoretical frameworks used to inform this study were the theories of PTG and SE. A sample of 123 women with histories of sexual violence completed the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, the Centrality of Events Scale â?? SF, the New General Self-Efficacy Scale, the Drug Abuse Screening Testâ??10, and health behavior questions from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The majority of participants reported that their experiences were highly central. Simple regression analysis indicated a marginal relationship between CE and PTG as well as a significant relationship between PTG and SE. PTG was not directly related to the health behaviors in this study. However, a bootstrap mediation analysis indicated that SE significantly mediated the relationship between PTG and physical activity. This study contributes to positive social change by helping women understand how their cognitions influence their SE and behaviors. Likewise, this study can inform practitioners on developing interventions through a lens of positive psychology to promote beneficial health behaviors.

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