Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


The purpose of this study was to compare demographic and personality characteristics of a group of inpatients at a psychiatric hospital in New York State who were sexually abused and who were self-mutilators (N = 64) with: a group of sexually abused inpatients (N = 42); a group of self-harming inpatients (N = 25); and a group of selected general psychiatric inpatients (N = 25). All subjects were 18 years of age or older at the time of the study and over 90% of the participants were females.

It was hypothesized that sexually abused/self-mutilating patients would show greater similarity to the symptoms of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and greater psychiatric symptomatology and maladjustment than the other comparison groups.

Data were collected from patient demographic and psychiatric records, and from the results of the MMPT-2 and die Personal Assessment of Responses to Abuse (PARA). Principle statistics used in this study included descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, the t Test, the Chi Square Tests, and Pearson product moment correlation.

Results of the investigation showed general support for the hypotheses that inpatients who were sexually abused and self-mutilating showed more symptomatology associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with higher scores on the F, 4, 6, 8, and 0 scales of the MMPI-2. However, the PK and PS Scales from the MMPI-2, developed to measure PTSD, were not effective group discriminators. Results also showed higher scores on: depression, poor social adjustment, and health concerns than the comparison groups. The sexually abused/self-mutilating group also showed greater sexual trauma than the sexually abused group as measured by the PARA.

It was concluded that sexually abused/self-mutilators may be a unique subgroup of sexually abused victims. Further research in this area should utilize sexual abuse-specific instruments such as the PARA and also employ multivariate research designs.