Date of Award

Winter 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Director

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Philip J. Langlais

Committee Member

James F. Paulson

Abstract

The goal of this study was to explore the different effects of parental alcoholism and history of trauma exposure on depressive symptoms in an emerging adult, college population. In particular, mediating effects of resilience, social support, and family satisfaction were evaluated for both parental alcoholism and previous interpersonal trauma exposure using structural equation modeling (SEM). Participants were 708 students (217 male, 491 female) attending a large mid-Atlantic state university. It was . anticipated that social support and family satisfaction would be key mediators between parental alcoholism and depressive symptoms, while resilience and social support would be significant mediators between interpersonal trauma exposure and depressive symptoms. A final well-fitting model suggests that parental alcoholism and interpersonal trauma exposure have different mediational pathways to depressive symptoms, with social support and resilience mediating the relationship of parental alcoholism and depressive symptoms, and family satisfaction, social support, and resilience mediating the relationship of trauma exposure and depressive symptoms. Parental mental illness was revealed as an important covariate with a significant direct and indirect effect on depressive symptoms through family satisfaction, social support, and resilience. Parental alcoholism did not have a direct effect on depressive symptoms once included in the model with interpersonal trauma exposure and parental mental illness. Results suggest that screening college-attending emerging adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs) for history of interpersonal trauma exposure and parental mental illness would be useful in understanding the development of depressive symptoms and informing treatment interventions. In particular, individuals with a history of interpersonal trauma exposure or parental mental illness may benefit from therapy that addresses issues related to these experiences, while ACOAs without these adverse family experiences may benefit more from interventions that focus in part on developing interpersonal skills, which may improve clients' development of social support and, in turn, increase resilience.

DOI

10.25777/ba52-ch85

ISBN

9781321564693

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