Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Specialization

Clinical Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Ellen Flannery-Schroeder

Abstract

Traumatic childhood experiences (physical abuse and neglect, emotional abuse and neglect, and sexual abuse) have increasingly high incidence rates and can be predictive of negative health outcomes, such as social anxiety. Although the relationship between childhood trauma and social anxiety has been documented, additional research is necessary to understand the mechanisms underlying this relationship. The current study hypothesized that social support, the experience of being valued, respected, cared about and loved by individuals present in a person’s life, would mediate the relationship between childhood trauma and social anxiety in a sample of college students (n= 221). Furthermore, it was hypothesized that gender would moderate the relationship between childhood trauma and social anxiety. The current study analyzed emotional abuse (EA), emotional neglect (EN), physical abuse (PA), physical neglect (PN), and sexual abuse (SA) separately. Results indicated that EA, EN, PN, and PA were significant predictors of social support, and social support was a significant predictor of social anxiety; therefore, social support did serve as a mediator for the relationship between childhood trauma and social anxiety. However, findings revealed that gender did not moderate the relationship between childhood trauma and social anxiety. Limitations of the current study as well as future directions are discussed.

Available for download on Sunday, November 14, 2021

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