Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Committee Chair

Meghan McDevitt-Murphy

Committee Member

Randy Floyd

Committee Member

James Murphy


Mental health problems, especially posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are significant concerns for veterans. Coping strategies may compound or alleviate mental health problems. Prior research shows maladaptive coping strategies are used by people with more severe PTSD and depression, while adaptive strategies are used by people who are more resilient. This study investigated how coping strategies contribute to symptoms of PTSD and depression in two samples of veterans: 55 veterans recruited from a Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) (12 women, 43 men; Mage = 36.58; 43.6% White, 45.5% Black), 71 student veterans enrolled at a university (22 women, 49 men; Mage = 30.15; 69.0% White, 23.9% Black). Hierarchical linear regressions were conducted to determine the relative contribution of veterans' coping strategies to both PTSD severity and depression severity. Results for VAMC veterans showed composite approach coping and composite avoidant coping predicted PTSD and depression. Specifically, denial predicted greater PTSD severity, while behavioral disengagement and self-blame predicted higher depression severity. Acceptance predicted lower depression severity. For student veterans, composite avoidant coping predicted PTSD and depression. Self-blame and self-distraction predicted higher PTSD severity, while self-blame and behavioral disengagement predicted higher depression severity. Results show avoidant coping strategies are maladaptive; this suggests that treatments for both disorders should include interventions to reduce avoidant coping.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.