Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Christopher R Berghoff


Exposure to potentially traumatic events is associated with high emotion regulation difficulties, development of posttraumatic stress disorder, and elevated healthcare expenditures. Emotion regulation difficulties are related to worse clinical and sub-clinical posttraumatic stress symptomology relative to use of effective emotion regulation strategies. Yet, significant variance in posttraumatic stress symptom severity remains unexplained after accounting for emotion regulation difficulties, suggesting identification of additional explanatory variables is warranted. Considerable research suggests high (vs. low) self-compassion, which entails extending kindness to oneself, is related to more effective emotion regulation and low posttraumatic stress symptom severity. As such, self-compassion may be one variable that accounts for variance in the relation of posttraumatic stress symptomology above and beyond emotion regulation. However, no research has specified the relation of posttraumatic stress symptom severity, emotion regulation difficulties, and self-compassion in a singular statistical model. Accordingly, the present study examined these relations among a sample of college students exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event (N = 145; Mage = 19.68, SDage = 2.77; Range = 18–23). Results suggested emotion regulation difficulties were significantly and inversely related to self-compassion and positively related to posttraumatic stress symptom severity. Self-compassion was inversely related to posttraumatic stress symptom severity. However, self-compassion did not account for a significant amount of variance of posttraumatic stress symptom severity above and beyond that accounted for by emotion regulation difficulties. Results are discussed in terms of additional variables that may modify the ER-SC relation in PTE exposed individuals and the implementation of experimental and longitudinal designs to improve upon present research.

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


College students, Emotion regulation, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Self-compassion

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota