Term of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Klibert, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

James Pugh, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker, Ph.D.


Depression ranks among the top health concerns on college campuses and impairs students’ functioning across numerous domains including academic, social, and personal areas, and there is still an urgent need for a model that can provide comprehensive understanding of the development and treatment of depression. The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model is introduced to bridge this gap. The current study aimed to make contributions to mental health literature by advancing our understanding of IFS theory (specifically, the concept of Self) in predicting depression, providing a framework for promoting a non-pathological model of depression, and adding to the body of empirical IFS research. Data were collected from a sample of college students at Georgia Southern University and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) via an online survey. Students completed the IFS Scale and the 10-item Center for Epidemiology Depression Scale (CES-D 10). A significant, inverse correlation was found between the Self variable and depression outcomes. In addition, a stepwise regression was performed in which Dissociating, Self-Critical, Anxious/Pessimistic, Addictive/Impulsive, and Raging Protectors were found to contribute the most unique variance to depressive symptoms. Mediation analysis was then conducted and identified three types of the previously mentioned Protectors as significantly mediating the relationship between Self and depression. Implications for IFS theory as well as direct clinical applications are discussed.