Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Psychology

First Advisor

Jan Faust

Second Advisor

Barry Nierenberg

Third Advisor

Ryan Black


child trauma, clinical psychology, health-related quality of life, locus of control, self-worth


Previous literature has shown that childhood trauma and adverse experiences are related to a wide range of negative outcomes that can span into adulthood (e.g., low self-worth, poor physical health, and increased likelihood of co-morbid psychological symptoms). However, a gap remains in the existing literature regarding early interventions that may target complicated outcomes (i.e., self-esteem and self-worth) while the survivor is still in childhood. This paper attempts to elucidate the impact that traumatic childhood experiences may have on self-worth, and the importance of implementing targeted intervention before the child reaches adulthood. Therefore, an extensive review was first conducted to gain further insight in regards to how specific variables, namely locus of control and health-related quality of life, may predict childhood development of self-worth. The present study then explored the influence of each factor on a child and adolescent community sample that experienced various types of trauma 61 children and adolescents who were survivors of varying types of trauma were recruited from a local mental health clinic (M=11.89; SD=2.49; 31 males, 30 females). Measures pertaining to locus of control, health-related quality of life, and self- worth were administered at their therapeutic baseline by a randomly assigned therapist. A measure of resiliency was also administered as a secondary exploratory analysis. Results highlighted pediatric quality of life and trauma type as meaningful predictors of self-worth outcomes. Additionally, resiliency as a construct with a significant correlational relationship with self-worth. All findings were interpreted for purposes of intervention, and treatment proposals were delineated.

Included in

Psychology Commons