Past findings regarding the effects of early trauma exposure have been contradictory, showing it to produce both resilience and vulnerability to future stressors. This may be explained by restricted samples, the use of inadequate measures of stress, and/or a failure to consider the possibility of curvilinear relationships. The present study sought to improve on past methodologies, sampling from a community population, utilizing a theory-consistent and well-validated measure of stress, and conducting quadratic regression analyses. Adult participants (N = 255) were recruited from community sites, where they completed the Lifetime Trauma Checklist, the Stress Overload Scale, and a demographic questionnaire. Analyses confirmed a curvilinear relationship between early trauma and stress overload, but not in the expected direction. Both zero- and low-exposure groups had lower levels of current stress overload than the moderate- and high-exposure group, but stress overload scores began to show a decline among the highest in the high-exposure group. The same relationship was found for one of the components of stress overload, personal vulnerability, but not the other, event load. The implications of this differential, possible explanations for the curvilinear result, and the import of these findings for both theory and practice are discussed.
|Advisor:||Amirkhan, James H.|
|Commitee:||Lee, Diane, Meyers, Stephanie A.|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Early trauma, Personal vulnerability, Resilience, Stress, Stress overload, Trauma|
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