Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2014

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Rachel Tambling, PhD, LMFT

Honors Major

Human Development and Family Studies

Second Honors Major



Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Educational Psychology | Health Psychology | Higher Education | School Psychology | Social Work


Research indicates that traumatic experiences can impact college students’ mental health, academic abilities, and relationships with peers. Trauma and associated symptoms of PTSD can lower students’ well-being and increase the risk of withdrawing from the university. Research also emphasizes the importance of psychological help-seeking as a way to experience posttraumatic growth. This study examines traumatic experiences, help-seeking attitudes, barriers, and behaviors, and posttraumatic growth in a sample of 168 undergraduate college students. Results indicated an overwhelming preference for informal help-seeking resources and the importance of traumatic severity in the decision to seek help. Additionally, female participants reported greater traumatic severity and more positive help-seeking attitudes than male participants. This is a vital area of research; by understanding the variables mentioned above, clinicians and researchers can better help college students and improve their attitudes toward psychological help.