Term of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Dorthie Cross

Committee Member 1

Jeffrey Klibert

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker


Trauma exposure is a known risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression (Dunn, Nishimi, Powers & Bradley, 2017). The response to trauma exposure can vary greatly, however, and most individuals do not experience long-term negative consequences following trauma (Bonanno, 2004; Breslau, 2009). Resilience to trauma is influenced by both stressor characteristics (e.g., trauma load and timing; Dunn et al., 2017) and person characteristics (e.g., hardiness; Bonanno, 2004). The current study was designed to examine hardiness as a potential moderator or mediator of the relationship between lifetime trauma load and PTSD, as well as between trauma load and depression. Approximately 337 individuals from a national community sample were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to participate in an online survey comprised of measures of hardiness, PTSD symptoms, depressive symptoms, and traumatic experiences. Traumatic experiences were measured separately at specific age groups (i.e., 0-5, 6-10, 11-18, and 19+). A cross-sectional and correlational design was implemented to analyze the data. Results indicated that hardiness was not significantly correlated with trauma load nor did it mediate or moderate the relationship between trauma load and PTSD or trauma load and depression. In addition, results indicated that the relationship between hardiness and trauma load at these specific age groups did not differ significantly. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.

Research Data and Supplementary Material