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Is it always good to talk? A mixed methods study exploring self disclosure when faced with ongoing trauma

Dowse, N. (2024). Is it always good to talk? A mixed methods study exploring self disclosure when faced with ongoing trauma. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Prevailing definitions of trauma remain ignorant towards the cumulative effects of structures, institutions, communities and systems as well as historical and intergenerational patterns in research, fostering cultural incompetence in psychological disciplines. Meanwhile, research that addresses traumatic systems of oppression largely focus on deficit narratives of single homogenous groups, neglecting the strengths of marginalised communities and intra-group differences.

As such, this mixed methods study sought to question the taken-for-granted assumptions within trauma literature that legitimate oppressive social structures by combining the Development-Based Trauma Framework’s (Kira, 2021) more inclusive taxonomy and the subjectivity of cognitive-emotional processing (e.g. self-disclosure behaviours and existential annihilation anxieties) outlined in the Functional and Descriptive Model (Calhoun et al., 2010). This study novelly compares those who experience ongoing trauma (i.e. oppression across multiple axes of identity) with trauma survivors from dominant social positions in the context of trauma-related growth (TRG). In addition, the research examines the applicability of the “talking cure” to ongoing trauma–specifically, whether self-disclosure can promote healing in instances where the threat is ever-present.

Quantitative results demonstrated a parallel multiple mediation model (N = 469) in which ongoing trauma predicted TRG directly and indirectly through self-disclosure and existential annihilation anxieties. Reflexive thematic analysis (N = 14) identified sociopolitical and interpersonal barriers to self-disclosure of ongoing trauma as well as opportunities for healing through critical stories. The importance of recognising ongoing trauma and practical implications including the call for worldview-based model alternatives and the need for new domains of TRG are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
[thumbnail of Dowse thesis 2024 redacted PDF-A.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 30 June 2027 due to copyright restrictions.


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