Male And Female Trauma Narratives: Differences And Similarities
Simmons, Catherine A.
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To help understand why women are at greater risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder than men, this dissertation qualitatively explores a conceptual model that incorporates key components of Cognitive-Behavioral theories within the context of social experiences specific to the respective genders. Specifically, this study uses a grounded theory method to explore gender differences in relation to the cognitive factors (a) appraisal of trauma and (b) appraisal of actions during event as well as the social factors (a) social roles and (b) perception of societal expectations of 28 violent crime survivors purposefully selected to ensure similarity in type of crime, ethnicity, age, relationship to assailant, and marital status. Findings of this qualitative exploratory study uncover differences in the way men and women appraise their experience and their actions during that experience. Most of the men deny the event was traumatic and explain their actions using powerful terms while most of the women openly admit the event was traumatic and explain their actions using powerless terns. Additionally, differences are found in the roles men and women have within their family, at work and, with their friends and the expectations they have for themselves and perceive from others. Implications for practice and future research are also explored.