Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Christopher Kearney

Second Committee Member

Michelle G. Paul

Third Committee Member

Paul Nelson

Fourth Committee Member

Wendy Hoskins


Maltreated youth who experience traumatic dissociation are at an increased risk for various psychopathological difficulties. Much is still unknown about the machinations behind experiences of dissociation post-trauma. This study aimed to identify variables that place maltreated youth at risk for experiencing traumatic dissociation (e.g., dissociative amnesia, absorption and imaginative involvement, passive influence, depersonalization and derealization, and total adolescent dissociative experiences symptoms (A-DES)). Investigatory variables included demographic (e.g., age, gender, and racial identity), cognitive (e.g., resiliency and posttraumatic cognitions), and psychological (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSD) and anxiety) factors. Classification and regression tree (CART) analysis was utilized to observe the salience and combination of different risk factors. Participants included 102 gender and racially diverse maltreated youth, all housed at an emergency shelter through the Department of Family Services. The first hypothesis predicted sexual maltreatment, female gender, and minority racial identity to be the risk factors for all forms of traumatic dissociation. The second hypothesis asserted that self-blame, total PTSD symptoms, and anxiety symptoms would place youth at risk for traumatic dissociation. Hypotheses were partially supported. Young age (at or below 14.5-years-old), female gender, and Multiracial and White identities were the most salient risk factors among all traumatic dissociation models. Self-blame was only predictive of total A-DES symptoms. Resiliency factors such as emotional reactivity and sense of relatedness and mastery were instead more predictive of dissociation. Psychological symptoms including cluster B and D of PTSD as well as total PTSD symptoms were significant predictors. Total anxiety symptoms and separation anxiety also denoted risk. These findings indicate a necessity for further research on traumatic dissociation so that superior trauma treatments may be developed for maltreated youth.


adolescents; children; dissociation; maltreatment; trauma; youth


Biological Psychology

File Format


File Size

200 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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