Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Amy Naugle

Second Advisor

Dr. C. Richard Spates

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Damashek

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Richard Oxhandler


Interpersonal violence is a widespread problem that includes intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in 2010 reported that approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 59 men have suffered sexual assault in their lifetime (Breiding et al., 2014). In addition, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been a victim of physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner (Breiding et al., 2014). A number of potential negative consequences of interpersonal violence exposure include the development of posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, and reduced quality of life. Current empirically supported treatments for posttraumatic stress include Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT; Resick, Monson, & Chard, 2008) and Prolonged Exposure (PE; Foa, Hembree, & Rothbaum, 2007). While these treatments are highly effective in reducing symptoms, both involve repeatedly exposing oneself to details of the trauma, which can be distressing, and may possibly lead to increased dropout rates or reduced engagement.

An alternative treatment that may be less aversive, and potentially increase participant engagement, involves mindfulness-based strategies. While mindfulness has been used as an adjunct to both CPT and PE, few studies have examined its effectiveness as a stand-alone treatment for victims of trauma. The aim of the current study was to investigate the use of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) group with a sample 14 women exposed to interpersonal violence recruited from a variety of community settings. Results suggest that participation in the group intervention resulted in a reduction of PTSD symptoms and experiential avoidance across the 8 weeks. All participants reported enjoying the group suggesting it is a feasible intervention for similar populations.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access