College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-20-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Cecilia Martinez-Torteya, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Antonio J. Polo, Ph.D


Women are disproportionately affected by specific types of potentially traumatic and stressful life events that are strongly linked to PTSD and depressive symptoms (Tolin & Foa, 2006; U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). Yet, while many studies have investigated patterns of potentially traumatic events (PTEs) and their associations with clinical outcomes, few have assessed PTE typologies with exclusively female samples (e.g., Cavanaugh et al., 2013). This study examined profiles of childhood and adulthood potentially traumatic and stressful life events in a predominantly ethnic minority, community sample of 191 young women. Using latent class analysis, we found four distinct profiles of exposure to PTEs and stressful life events: a Minimal risk class (51.3% of the sample), a Family conflict/moderate risk class (19.9%), a Chronic abuse/polyvictimization class (14.7%), and an Adulthood abuse/polyvictimization class (14.1%). The Adulthood abuse/polyvictimization class displayed significantly higher levels of PTSD symptoms than the Minimal risk class. Additionally, both the Adulthood abuse/polyvictimization and Chronic abuse/polyvictimization classes had significantly higher estimated probabilities of endorsing elevated depressive symptoms in comparison to the Minimal risk class. Results illustrate the importance of multidimensional assessment of potentially traumatic and stressful life event exposures and their impact on young ethnic minority women.

SLP Collection