POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AMONG CHRISTIAN ADULTS: THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN GOD ATTACHMENT, SURRENDER, AND TRAUMA SYMPTOMS
Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) impacts an individual’s future psychological development and is a predecessor for stress-related disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Hailes et al., 2019; McKay et al., 2020; Paolucci et al., 2001; Rodriguez et al., 1997; Subica, 2013). Drawing from several different bodies of literature (e.g., attachment theory, religious coping, posttraumatic growth), the study investigated whether attachment to God is related to posttraumatic growth (PTG) and trauma symptoms among a sample of Christian adults with a history of CSA. Further, the study examined if surrender to God as a form of religious coping mediates the relationship between attachment to God and PTG. Using an online sample of Christian adults from Amazon’s MTurk who reported CSA, the study utilized Hayes’ PROCESS macro to determine if a relationship exists between these variables (Hayes, 2022). The study concluded that surrender mediated the relationship between anxious attachment to God and PTG, and trauma symptoms positively correlated with anxious and avoidant attachment to God. However, no mediation relationship existed between avoidant attachment to God, PTG, and surrender to God. The results are discussed in the context of broader clinical implications for Christians and mental health professionals. Limitations and areas for further research will also be examined.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Psychology
Clinical Psychology, Mental Health