Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Christopher A. Kearney

Number of Pages



Child maltreatment is a societal problem that affects thousands of youths in the United States. Substantial amounts of youths affected by child maltreatment develop Posttraumatic Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Depression, maladaptive cognitions, dissociation, and anger are symptoms often associated with presentations of PTSD. Specifically, these PTSD-related symptoms may influence development and maintenance of PTSD. This study examined PTSD-related symptoms and PTSD associated with child maltreatment within a culturally competent, ecologically-based framework; The first hypothesis was that family expressiveness, cohesion, control, conflict, and independence would mediate the relationship between (1) PTSD-related symptoms of depression, dissociation, maladaptive cognitions, and anger and (2) PTSD symptoms. The second hypothesis was that ethnic identity would mediate the relationship between (1) depression, dissociation, anger, and maladaptive cognitions and (2) PTSD symptoms. The third hypothesis was that ethnicity/race would influence relationships outlined in the first two hypotheses. Analyses did not confirm hypotheses one, two, or three; Increased PTSD-related symptoms did contribute to increased PTSD symptomatology. Study findings implicate depression and trauma-related cognitions as salient contributors to adolescent PTSD. Analyses did not implicate family environment and ethnic identity as mediators in this relationship. Family environment variables did relate to PTSD-related symptoms. PTSD presentations and family environment dynamics also differed according to ethnicity/race. Minimal findings emerged regarding ethnic identity with the exception of some racial/ethnic differences in ethnic identity and ethnic behaviors. A discussion of study results indicate that PTSD alone is not sufficient in explaining adolescent reactions to trauma. Considerations of PTSD-related symptoms and contextual factors (e.g., ethnicity, ethnic identification, and family) relate to PTSD and influence trauma reactions.


Adolescents; Culture; Effects; Experiences; Familial; Family; Maltreated; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; PTSD; Respect; Trauma

Controlled Subject

Clinical psychology

File Format


File Size

3717.12 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have the full text removed from Digital Scholarship@UNLV, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.


IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit