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Greater Mastery is Associated with Psychological Resistance and Recovery in Assaulted Women and Related to Maintenance of Physical Health

Monday, September 22, 2014 — Poster Session I

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center




  • HL Rusch
  • E Shvil
  • SL Szanton
  • Y Neria
  • JM Gill


Introduction: Women exposed to assault are at high risk for developing psychiatric disorders including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance-related disorders. However, this risk is not universal; most women are resistant and remain asymptomatic, or recover following a brief symptomatic period. This study examined the psychological factors that predict resistant and recovered trajectories in a sample of assaulted women. Method: One hundred fifty-nine women with a history of assaultive trauma were administered the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) and completed the Life Events Checklist (LEC). This resulted in three diagnostic groups: (1) resistant (n=56), no onset of psychiatric disorders, (2) recovered (n=31), resolution of psychiatric disorders, and (3) compromised (n=72), current diagnosis of one or more psychiatric disorders. Groups were then compared on measures of psychological resilience. Results: Mastery and social support predict resistance above and beyond psychiatric morbidity following an assaultive trauma in women, and mastery and posttraumatic growth predict recovery. Furthermore, both resilient groups scored higher on health-related quality of life compared with the compromised group. Conclusion: Psychological resilience has ramifications to health and wellbeing and has potential to inform preventive and treatment interventions for women exposed to trauma. Clinical implications will be discussed.

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