Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

The coping process as a mediator of the long-term impact of childhood sexual abuse

Alexandra Sascha Griffing, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study examined the role of the coping process as a mediator of the long-term psychological adjustment of survivors of childhood sexual abuse, with a focus on three specific areas of coping: self-criticism, support seeking behavior, and disengaged coping. The study also addressed a limitation of the existing research in this area by controlling for the potentially confounding effects of depression through the use of a control sample that was matched for the level of depressive symptomatology. Fifty-one undergraduate women with a history of childhood sexual abuse and eighty-eight nonabused undergraduate women completed the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire, the Coping Strategies Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised, and the Relationship Questionnaire. There were significant relationships between abuse-severity characteristics and elevated levels of self-criticism and differences in interpersonal functioning. Both self-criticism and avoidant coping predicted psychological symptomatology, but these associations were not specific to abuse victims. Hypothesized relationships between social support and adjustment were not confirmed; however, the findings suggest that attachment style is a particularly sensitive measure of interpersonal functioning within abuse victims.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Griffing, Alexandra Sascha, "The coping process as a mediator of the long-term impact of childhood sexual abuse" (1997). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9809342.