for potential applicants to the doctoral program
Department of Psychology, University of Oregon
Dr. Freyd and her students investigate the causes and impact of interpersonal violence and institutional betrayal on mental and physical health, behavior, and society. Freyd’s research with adult and child participants investigates predictions made by betrayal trauma theory. Analysis of evolutionary pressures and developmental needs suggests that victims of abuse may remain completely or partially unaware of abuse and betrayal, not to reduce suffering, but rather to maintain an attachment with a person (or institution) vital to survival, development, and thriving. Highlighting social relations and trust as central to traumatic stress has challenged existing beliefs about the psychology of trauma and generates novel testable predictions. Current projects include studies of betrayal trauma as it relates to child abuse, domestic violence, campus sexual violence, military sexual trauma, minority discrimination, gender and sexual orientation, disclosures of abuse, physical and mental health distress, and institutional betrayal.