Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Sandra Zakowski, PhD

Second Advisor

Mirjam Quinn, PhD

Third Advisor

Denise Romanow, PsyD


Trauma serves as a risk factor for developing both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. The purpose of this study was to examine trauma type as a mediator in the relationship between gender and severity of depressive symptoms among veterans with PTSD. The literature shows trauma type plays a role in developing PTSD and depressive symptoms. The first hypothesis was that female veterans who met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD would report higher levels of depressive symptoms than their male counterparts. The second hypothesis was that this gender difference would be partly mediated by levels of interpersonal trauma experience. Self-report measures assessing demographics, severity of depressive symptoms, diagnostic criteria for PTSD, trauma history, and support were administered in an online format to veterans recruited through social media platforms. The goal was to recruit 70 participants for the study; however, only 21 participants’ data could be analyzed due to missing data and recruitment difficulties. Results indicated there was no significant difference in the severity of depressive symptoms between male and female veterans. The mediation model could not be tested due to a lack of support for the first hypothesis. The non-significant findings are likely due to the low statistical power of this study and should be interpreted with caution. Given the prevalence of PTSD, trauma, and depression in the veteran population, continued research on the role of different types of trauma exposure and gender differences in psychological symptoms is encouraged to be able to provide treatment recommendations that are tailored to the experiences of male and female veterans.