Date of Award

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Christine Larson

Committee Members

Christine Larson, Han Joo Lee, Marcellus Merritt


Trauma is common and can result in significant longstanding distress. However, not everyone who goes through traumatic experiences develops stress-related forms of psychopathology. There are a lot of factors that can influence the development of psychopathology and understanding what factors following trauma lead to long-term distress would help identify potential targets for treatment. One of those factors is known as centrality of event which is a trauma focused appraisal of a traumatic event that can influence the amount of stress one experiences following a traumatic event. Centrality of event has been linked with PTSD symptoms, and PTSD has been linked with heightened emotion dysregulation which is another important factor as well and represents the difficulty that one has at regulating and managing their emotional reactions. However, it is not known how centrality of event measured soon after the experience of trauma is related to long-term emotion dysregulation, which may in turn increase risk for PTSD. In order to study this, we recruited 171 adult participants from a local Emergency Department and measured Centrality of Event 3 months post-trauma and emotion dysregulation 6- and 12-months post trauma. We found that greater centrality of event three months after trauma significantly predicted more emotion dysregulation at six- and twelve-months post-trauma, even after accounting for other risk factors such as age, gender, pain, and prior trauma. These results suggest that addressing centrality of event, or how a person interprets the significance of the trauma in their lives, may be a useful intervention for minimizing emotion dysregulation and distress among survivors of trauma.

Included in

Psychology Commons