Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Matthew T. Feldner

Committee Member

Lindsay Ham

Second Committee Member

William Levine

Abstract

Social support functions as a protective factor against the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Crystal methamphetamine use, however, is associated with a decrease in social functioning. This is noteworthy as people with PTSD endorse elevated rates of crystal methamphetamine use. The current study proposed to look at perceived social support as it relates to crystal methamphetamine use among individuals endorsing a wide range of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Questionnaires measuring perceived social support and posttraumatic stress symptom severity were administered to 98 traumatic event-exposed adults (Mage = 48.5, SD =7.74) recruited from the San Francisco bay area who were participating in a larger study focused on human immunodeficiency virus treatment adherence. Regression analyses were employed to test three interrelated hypotheses based on the general prediction that posttraumatic stress and crystal methamphetamine use will evidence unique and combined relations with perceived social support. While posttraumatic stress symptom severity was negatively related to perceived social support (B = -.145, β = -.322, sr 2 = .104, t(93) = -3.299, p = .001), neither the extent of previous crystal methamphetamine use, or the interaction between posttraumatic stress symptom severity and crystal methamphetamine use were associated with decreased levels of perceived social support. Secondary analyses revealed a significant interaction between avoidance symptoms and crystal methamphetamine use, but upon further investigation, it appears that this relationship is only significant for those who deny previous crystal methamphetamine use. Similarly, an analysis of marital status indicated no significant relation between PTSD, crystal methamphetamine use, and marital status. Taken together, these results replicated research linking PTSD symptoms to social support, but do not suggest that crystal methamphetamine use further impact social support level.

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