Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Keith Burt


According to the United Nations (2023), global armed conflicts and violence are rising, the highest on record since World War II. In the context of political violence, how can we understand trauma reactions and resilience through a culturally-sensitive lens? The current study addressed this question by examining Myanmar trauma survivors of the 2021 coup d’etat. We followed the World Health Organization (WHO)’s forward-backward translation guidelines in designing this mixed-methods study and established community-based partnerships for sample recruitment in Myanmar (Robine & Jagger, 2003). The existing literature demonstrates a strong relationship between the degree of exposure to political violence and the likelihood of developing psychopathology including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and alcohol use (Al-Krenawi & Graham, 2012; Braun-Lewensohn et al., 2009). While political violence increases the risk of mental health problems, research also suggests that survivors exhibit remarkable resilience amid humanitarian crises (Jordans et al., 2007; Pedersen, 2002; Pettigrew, 2004). In this research, we examined trauma as well as resilience mechanisms through a clinical framework (using gold-standard quantitative psychological questionnaires) and a sociocultural lens applied to qualitative data (i.e.., a hybrid deductive and inductive analysis of open-ended responses). Our analyses explored gender differences in psychological symptoms, illustrated the dose-response relationship between trauma and psychopathology, and highlighted the moderating role of resilience in the significant association of PTSD and alcohol use. Findings showed that women participants reported greater internalizing symptoms (PTSD, depression, and anxiety) while men reported greater alcohol use. Alongside these expressions, we observed a significant dose-response relationship of trauma and psychopathology: greater trauma correlated with stronger PTSD (r[178] = .37, p < .001) and increased alcohol use (r[178] = .22, p < .001). Higher PTSD also predicted more pronounced comorbidity with depression, anxiety, and alcohol use (r[178] = .45, .36, .24, p < .001).The interaction term between PTSD symptoms and resilience in predicting alcohol use was significant, B = –0.16, SE = 0.07, t(169) = –2.48, p = .013, suggesting that as resilience increased, the relationship between PTSD symptoms and alcohol use weakened. We also identified Myanmar participants’ unique cultural expressions of distress regarding trauma reactions (e.g., “burning rage”) and contextually meaningful sources of resilience (e.g., “political commitment”). Both psychological and cultural considerations were included to highlight clinical, research, and policy implications of studying underserved global communities, such as Myanmar survivors.



Number of Pages

130 p.

Available for download on Monday, December 15, 2025