Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Winston Seegobin, PsyD

Second Advisor

Marie-Christine Goodworth, PhD

Third Advisor

Brooke Kuhnhausen, PhD


As a result of adversity, trauma, or maltreatment, a child’s primary defense is to engage in self-blame in order to maintain a belief in a safe world. Without intervention, these adaptive strategies may continue to shape the way survivors relate to themselves and make meaning out of negative events. This study hypothesized that participants with adversity in childhood have an increased likelihood of low self-compassion (indicating tendencies towards self-judgment, overidentification, and isolation). This study further hypothesized a positive correlation between posttraumatic growth, resilience and hardiness. Participants in this study were adults recruited from three online sites (social networking, online forum, and a local university); participants ranged in age from 18-64, sexually and ethnically diverse. The majority of participants were white, United States born, female, and were between the age of 18-24. Participants were surveyed using the Adverse Childhood Experience survey, Self-Compassion Scale- Short Form, Connor Davidson Resilience Scale, Hardiness Questionnaire, Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, and two one-item scales measuring religion and attachment. Results were analyzed using a Pearson correlation and path analysis. Self-compassion was not significantly correlated to ACEs, and a strong correlation was observed between resilience and self-compassion. Resilience and posttraumatic growth had a moderate correlation, resilience and hardiness had a strong correlation, and there was no significant correlation observed between hardiness and posttraumatic growth. The results from the path analysis found that resilience mediates the relationship between adversity and the development of posttraumatic growth. Moreover, adversity in childhood had a small negative correlation to religion, resilience, self-compassion, and hardiness.