Original Article

Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 603-617

First online:

Cumulative Trauma, Personal and Social Resources, and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms Among Income-assisted Single Mothers

  • Joan A. Samuels-DennisAffiliated withFaculty of Health Studies, School of Nursing, York University Email author 
  • , Marilyn Ford-GilboeAffiliated withNursing, University of Western Ontario
  • , Piotr WilkAffiliated withSociology, University of Western Ontario
  • , William R. AvisonAffiliated withSociology, University of Western Ontario
  • , Susan RayAffiliated withNursing, University of Western Ontario

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Data from 247 single mothers were used to partially validate a theoretical model that highlights the process through which post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops among women. Structural equation modeling was used to assess the direct and indirect relationship between cumulative trauma (CT) and mothers’ PTSD symptom severity. Additionally, we examined the meditational role played by mothers’ strains and resources and the moderating role played by mothers’ residence in an intersectionally advantaged versus disadvantaged neighborhood. A good fit was found between the hypothesized model and data. Mothers’ strains and personal resources played a significant mediating role in the relationship between CT and PTSD symptom severity. Neighborhood of residence did not moderate the CT-PTSD process. Implication for practice and treatment are discussed.


Intersectionality Post-traumatic Stress symptoms Psychological and assaultive trauma Single mothers