Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 28, Issue 8, pp 763–770 | Cite as

Adolescent Girls’ Use of Avoidant and Approach Coping as Moderators Between Trauma Exposure and Trauma Symptoms

  • Meredith Elzy
  • Colleen Clark
  • Norín Dollard
  • Victoria Hummer


High rates of child maltreatment demand attention, as exposure to child maltreatment substantially increases the risk of developing PTSD. Some evidence exists that the presence of coping skills may reduce the likelihood that victims of childhood maltreatment will develop PTSD (Agaibi & Wilson, Trauma Violence Abuse 6:195–216, 2005). This study examined whether avoidant and/or approach coping skills moderated the relationship between childhood trauma exposure and trauma symptoms among adolescent females with a history of complex trauma. Results suggest that the use of avoidant coping moderates the relationship between trauma exposure and trauma symptoms. More specifically, girls with higher levels of trauma exposure demonstrated lower levels of trauma symptoms if they reported using higher levels of avoidant coping. Clinical implications for these results are discussed.


Trauma PTSD Complex trauma Coping skills Child maltreatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meredith Elzy
    • 1
    • 4
  • Colleen Clark
    • 2
  • Norín Dollard
    • 3
  • Victoria Hummer
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mental Health Law, & PolicyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Child & Family StudiesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South Carolina-AikenAikenUSA

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