Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Maria T. Riva, Ph.D.


Childhood sexual trauma, Group therapy, Profile analysis, Psychotherapy outcome research, Social bonds, Trauma


This study examined the session-to-session change in symptom severity and social bonding ability in the participants of groups for survivors of sexual trauma. The concept of social bonding ability was addressed by examining the participants’ beliefs about the availability of social support, their beliefs about themselves, and their beliefs about their relationships with their group leaders. Group leader ratings of the level of process focus of their group were also measured. Twenty women between the ages of 19 and 55 receiving group treatment at three community agencies in Colorado were included in the study. Groups included in the study were either open or closed, were targeted at sexual trauma survivors and met for a minimum of 10 weeks. Assessment measures utilized included the Outcome Questionnaire 45 (OQ-45), the PTSD ChecklistCivilian Version (PCL-C), The Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL) the Working Alliance Inventory-Short Form Revised (WAI-SR), the Childhood Sexual Abuse Questionnaire (CSAQ), and the Sexual Experiences Survey Short Form Victimization (SES-SFV). Participants completed the SES-SFV, CSAQ, ISEL, WAI-SR, PCL-C and the OQ-45 prior to treatment. Participants also completed the OQ-45, WAI, and ISEL prior to each group therapy session for sessions two to 10, for a total of 10 weeks of data. Data were analyzed with profile analyses, hierarchical multiple regression, and paired sample t-tests. Results showed that there were significant pre to post treatment changes on all measures of symptom severity and bonding ability after 10 sessions of treatment. There were significant differences in symptom severity based on ability to form social bonds. However, after controlling for pretreatment symptom severity, level of bonding ability was not a significant predictor of post treatment symptom severity. There were no significant differences in the ability to form social bonds over time based on level of process focus of the group and all groups including some amount of focus on process increased the ability to form social bonds. Regardless of level of process focus, group treatments produced significant increases in the ability to bond to the therapist over time. There were no significant differences in bonding ability or symptom severity between participants in the open and closed groups, and both groups experienced similar rates of reduction in symptoms over time. Overall, these findings suggest that brief group treatment for sexual trauma survivors may improve social bonding ability and decrease ratings of symptom severity. Also significant for sexual trauma group psychotherapy research is the ability for women to benefit from either open or closed group treatments. Further research on a larger scale is needed to learn how level of group process focus affect group members and how social bonding ability develops in psychotherapy.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Robin E. Lange

File size

184 p.

File format






Included in

Psychology Commons