Term of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

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

Brandon Weiss

Committee Member 1

Ryan Couillou

Committee Member 2

Nicolette Rickert


The majority of Americans will experience a trauma in their lifetime (Kilpatrick et al., 2013). While some will experience severe negative symptoms as a result of their trauma (U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, 2019), up to 70% of people will report positive outcomes (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 1999). Posttraumatic growth (PTG) refers to positive changes that individuals experience after a traumatic event (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). A key way for PTG to occur is through social support (Shakespeare-Finch & Copping, 2006). Research found that the quality and the quantity of social support matter when predicting PTG (Shang et al., 2020). Specifically, Shang and colleagues (2020) reported that people who had high quality, high quantity social support experienced high levels of PTG and people who had high quality, low quantity social support experienced low levels of PTG. People who live in rural areas often seek help coping with mental health problems but receive rejection and lack of acceptance (Robinson et al., 2012). Therefore, they may be especially subject to experiencing low quality, high quantity social support in the aftermath of a trauma. This study examined Posttraumatic Stress Disorder severity, PTG, quality of social support, quantity of social support, and online social support. Results found statistically significant relationships between most of the variables. There was a conditional effect of the interaction between quality and quantity of social support on PTG. There was a statistically significant interaction between quantity of social support and online social support on PTG. Implications for these findings are discussed.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material