An Examination of the Construct Validity of PTSD and Depression through Emotion Regulation Strategies in the Context of Trauma

Open Access
Parker-Guilbert, Kelly Sage
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Amy Dyanna Marshall, Thesis Advisor
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • depression
  • construct validity
  • emotion regulation
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression overlap functionally as well as in terms of symptomatologies. Within the context of trauma, this overlap makes it difficult to determine whether depression is a distinct construct from PTSD. Through an examination of specific strategies used to regulate emotions, the nature of the functional overlap between the two disorders was investigated. Specific emotion regulation strategies were examined in a mixed clinical and community sample of 64 couples in which at least one partner screened positive for PTSD. Factor analyses of PTSD and depression measures were conducted in order to further clarify the symptom structure of the disorders. Using bivariate correlations and comparisons of the strength of the correlations, relations between specific emotion regulation strategies and symptoms clusters of PTSD and depression were then examined in order to potentially differentiate PTSD and depression within the context of trauma. Results suggest that PTSD and depression within the context of trauma are not distinct constructs. Implications are further discussed.