Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology


Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Hector Lopez-Vergara


Background: Experiences of childhood adversity predict adult health though the mechanisms of such association remain unknown. The Dimensional Model of Adversity & Psychopathology (DMAP; Duffy et al., 2018) postulates that experiences of adversity can be conceptually and statistically “unpacked” into separate factors that have distinct outcomes. Experiences characterized by an absence of expected inputs from the environment (e.g., physical and emotional neglect) have been construed as a deprivation dimension; whereas experiences characterized by physical harm or threat of harm (e.g., physical, emotional, and sexual abuse) have been hypothesized to fall along a threat dimension. DMAP suggests that experiences of deprivation shape capacity for cognitive control, whereas experiences of threat alter emotional reactivity. Despite the popularity of DMAP, there have been critiques of its statistical utility due to lack of divergent validity and multicollinearity (Smith & Pollack, 2021). Methods: We sought to test propositions of DMAP using a cross-sectional sample of emerging adults (N=1,187; mean age= 22; 49.5% female; 33% Black, 35% Latinx, 32% White) recruited via an online research panel. Deprivation and threat were measured using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ; Pennebaker & Susman, 1988); and individual differences in cognitive control and emotional reactivity were measured using the Adult Temperament Questionnaire (ATQ; Evans & Rothbart, 2007), which consists of traits Effortful Control (capacity for cognition control), Negative Affectivity (intensity and frequency of negative emotional states), and Surgency (intensity and frequency of positive emotional states). This thesis sought to test: 1) the convergent and divergent validity of McLaughlin and colleague’s DMAP, as well as 2) the cultural validity of the model across the three largest ethno/racial groups in the U.S. (Black, Latinx, White). Results: Differential item functioning was demonstrated across race/ethnicity and gender in various scales of the CTQ and the ATQ. Between-group analyses were only conducted for scales that showed comparable psychometric functioning across race/ethnicity and gender, which included: sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and emotional neglect scales from the CTQ, and the Discomfort, Attentional Control, Activation, and Sociability subscales for the ATQ. After statistically accounting for differential item functioning, not all DMAP hypotheses were supported. There was evidence that select groups had significant associations aligned with 1) deprivation predicting attentional and 2) threat predicting surgency and negative affect. However, our divergent hypotheses were not all supported. There was evidence that select groups had significant association aligned with 1) deprivation predicting surgency and negative affect and 2) threat predicting Attentional Control and Activation. Conclusions: Measurement invariance was not established for all scales across race/ethnicity and gender, but for those scales with comparable psychometric properties across race/ethnicity and gender DMAP hypotheses were only partially supported.



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