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Jayawickreme and Blackie offered recommendations on how the conceptual framework of post-traumatic growth can benefit from greater attention to measurement and methodology. We offer two additional considerations. Emerging research suggests that brief and specific psychological interventions produce lasting changes in how people view themselves and their environment. In the early post-trauma phase, these interventions are worthy of exploration. Additionally, a focus on who is experiencing what type of trauma offers a contextual lens missing from the hunt for universal, silver-bullet approaches to mental health promotion. Copyright (C) 2014 European Association of Personality Psychology
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... However, there are few studies that appropriately address how to promote PTG in people, especially in the case of refugees. To quote Blalock, Calton, and Kashdan (2014): "greater attention to post-trauma interventions, particularly those that are both effective and efficient, is necessary to make research practically useful" (p. 333). ...
Various international organisations have identified the development of programmes that mitigate the negative impact that forced displacement has on refugees’ mental health as a priority intervention area. From this perspective, this study seeks to lend empirical support to a community‐based pilot intervention aimed at promoting posttraumatic growth (PTG) among refugee adults arrived to Seville, the capital of Andalucía (southern Spain). PTG constitutes a mental health indicator that refers to the positive personal transformations refugees undergo as a consequence of experiencing forced displacement. This concept does not negate the undeniable personal suffering forced displacement causes for refugees; rather, it focuses on the positive changes this event has the potential to bring about. Forty‐seven individuals (age, M = 33 years; 20 women) from several countries in conflict participated in the intervention over 15 weeks (March–June 2017). The implementation process comprised two phases: (a) training a group of settled refugees to become peer mentors; and (b) holding cultural peer‐support group sessions made up of newly arrived refugees led by the mentors. Following quantitative and qualitative data collection (using the ‘Posttraumatic Growth Inventory’ (PTGI; Tedeschi & Calhoun, Journal of Traumatic Stress, 1996, 9, 455) and participants’ written evaluations and comments, respectively), and adopting a pretest‐posttest evaluation design, significant improvements were found in four of the five PTG factors: ‘appreciation of life’, ‘personal strength’, ‘relating to others’ and ‘new possibilities’. However, no significant differences were observed for ‘spiritual change’. We also documented implementation outcomes which revealed high intervention acceptability, appropriateness and feasibility. This study highlights how PTG shown by the refugee population can be actively improved through a community‐based intervention, specifically by creating supportive community settings that adopt a mentorship and peer‐based approach. The limitations and contributions of this research that address the current challenges behind promoting the mental health of refugees in places of settlement are discussed.
This prospective longitudinal study examined whether repeated written narration of relational transgressions was associated with increases in empathy, humility, and compassion over 1 year. Although engagement in reflective and meaning-making processing styles has been theorized to facilitate adversarial growth existing research has been limited by methodological issues and has yet to examine whether this mechanism is associated with character trait changes over time. Participants provided ratings of trait empathy, humility, and compassion in 5 waves at 3-month intervals. In Wave 2, participants provided a written narrative describing a recent relational transgression against their romantic partner. Participants then engaged in repeated narration of recent romantic transgressions in Waves 3 through 5. The narratives were coded for redemption, positive self-event connections, and degree of personal responsibility taken. Linear growth curve models were used to examine the extent to which these narrative themes were associated with character growth. Overall, there was little consistent and robust evidence across models that narration was associated with changes in empathy, humility, and compassion. The implications for research into adversarial growth are discussed in reference to the appropriateness of operationalizing adversarial growth as character growth and the extent to which relational transgressions can facilitate adversarial growth.
Wisdom development has typically been studied as a function of the individual, yet the social environment can also facilitate its development (Igarashi, Levenson, & Aldwin, 2018). We extended our earlier work by examining the sequence of social support and timing of pivotal wisdom-promoting social transactions following a difficult life event. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with men (n = 14) and women (n= 36), aged 56 - 91 years (M = 71.71; SD = 8.8) who described a difficult life event and how they coped. For some participants, social support created an immediate experience of self-transcendent positive emotions, while others benefited from transactions that promoted a deliberate process of exploration and reflection involving years. This rapid versus slower development of wisdom is similar to the distinction made in the attainment of enlightenment. Thus, the heterogeneity of social support and its meaning to the individual may differentially promote the development of wisdom.
This study examined the development of wisdom within the context of difficult life events (DLEs), and the importance of individuals and their social environments in this process of growth. Social support has long been studied in adulthood, yet less is known about the ways social transactions can promote wisdom.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with men (n = 14) and women (n = 36), ages 56-91 years (M = 71.71; SD = 8.8) who described a DLE and how they coped with it. The analysis was guided by constructivist grounded theory.
DLEs included those from childhood through later life. When personal meaning was disrupted by adversity, the social environment played a key role in facilitating new perspectives that corresponded with aspects of wisdom: self-knowledge, compassion, comfort with uncertainty, and accepting complexity.
Wisdom is often studied as an individual characteristic, but this study highlighted the relevance of a social ecological perspective to understanding how wisdom development is also facilitated through social transactions.
Philosophers and psychological scientists converge on the idea that wisdom involves certain aspects of thinking (e.g., intellectual humility, recognition of uncertainty and change, consideration of the broader context at hand and perspectives of others, integration of these perspectives/compromise) enabling application of knowledge to life challenges. How does wise thinking change across various contexts people encounter in their lives? Empirical evidence indicates that people’s ability to think wisely varies dramatically across experiential contexts they encounter over the lifespan. Moreover, wise thinking varies from one situation to another, with self-focused contexts inhibiting wise thinking. Experiments can show ways to buffer thinking against bias in cases where self-interests are unavoidable. Specifically, an ego-decentering cognitive mindset enables wise thinking about personally meaningful issues. It appears that experiential, situational and cultural factors are even more powerful in shaping wisdom than previously imagined. Focus on such contextual factors can shed new light on the processes underlying wise thought and its development, helps to integrate different approaches to studying wisdom and have implications for measurement and development of wisdom-enhancing interventions.
Earlier work has defined post-traumatic growth (PTG) as positive personality change, but measurement of this construct has relied almost exclusively on cross-sectional and retrospective assessments. The aim of this study was to use an experience-sampling procedure to measure the extent to which PTG manifested in individuals' everyday lives after a recent highly stressful or traumatic adverse event (compared to a control group). In doing so, we developed a state measure of PTG. The factor structure of state PTG was comparable to trait PTG, there was significant variability in individuals' PTG from moment-to-moment, but individuals' trait PTG was unrelated to their state PTG. Moreover, individuals who had experienced a recent adversity did not differ from control participants on state PTG.
Taxonomies of person characteristics are well developed, while taxonomies of psychologically important situation characteristics are underdeveloped. A working model of situation perception implies the existence of taxonomizable dimensions of psychologically meaningful, important, and consequential situation characteristics tied to situation cues, goal affordances, and behavior. Such dimensions are developed and demonstrated in a multi-method set of six studies. First, the “Situational Eight DIAMONDS” dimensions Duty, Intellect, Adversity, Mating, pOsitivity, Negativity, Deception, and Sociality are established from the Riverside Situational Q-Sort (Study 1). Second, their rater agreement (Study 2) and associations with situation cues and goal/trait affordances (Studies 3 and 4) are examined. Finally, the usefulness of these dimensions is demonstrated by examining their predictive power of behavior (Study 5), particularly vis-à-vis measures of personality and situations (Study 6). Together, we provide extensive and compelling evidence that the DIAMONDS taxonomy is useful for organizing major dimensions of situation characteristics. We discuss the DIAMONDS taxonomy in the context of previous taxonomic approaches and sketch future research directions.
The present study explored the potential importance of using personality trait change as a unique predictor of change in depressive symptoms in a large, longitudinal sample. Cross-sectional, prospective, and correlated-change analyses, as well as several potential mediators (i.e., life satisfaction, chronic stressors, physical health) that may account for the link between personality traits and depression were tested. As predicted, the relationship between static levels of personality traits and depression found in previous research was replicated, and strong evidence was found for personality trait change in predicting change in depression. Variables associated with satisfaction and health were found to partially mediate the link between personality traits and depression.
This study explores self-related outcomes (e.g., esteem, self-concept clarity, existential well-being) as a function of the interaction between self-reported levels of death fear and death denial. Consistent with the idea that positive existential growth can come from individuals facing, rather than denying, their mortality (Cozzolino, 20066.
Cozzolino , P. J. ( 2006 ). Death contemplation, growth, and defense: converging evidence of dual-existential systems? Psychological Inquiry , 17 , 278 – 287 . [Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]View all references), the authors observed that not fearing and denying death can bolster important positive components of the self. That is, individuals low in death denial and death fear evidenced an enhanced self that is valued, clearly conceived, efficacious, and that has meaning and purpose.
People have a basic need to maintain the integrity of the self, a global sense of personal adequacy. Events that threaten self-integrity arouse stress and self-protective defenses that can hamper performance and growth. However, an intervention known as self-affirmation can curb these negative outcomes. Self-affirmation interventions typically have people write about core personal values. The interventions bring about a more expansive view of the self and its resources, weakening the implications of a threat for personal integrity. Timely affirmations have been shown to improve education, health, and relationship outcomes, with benefits that sometimes persist for months and years. Like other interventions and experiences, self-affirmations can have lasting benefits when they touch off a cycle of adaptive potential, a positive feedback loop between the self-system and the social system that propagates adaptive outcomes over time. The present review highlights both connections with other disciplines and lessons for a social psychological understanding of intervention and change.
Neuroticism is a predictor of many health problems. To study the determinants of within-subject change
in neuroticism, three hypotheses were tested: (i) subjects who experienced stressful life events (SLEs) show an increase in neuroticism; (ii) high baseline neuroticism moderated this effect; and (iii) recent SLEs had a greater impact on neuroticism than distant SLEs.Data came fromthe Finnish Twin Cohort. Neuroticism data were collected in 1975 and 1981 and SLEs data in 1981 (n=21 085). By entering baseline neuroticism as a predictor for neuroticism at follow-up, the outcome measure was change in neuroticism. Changes in neuroticism were predicted from SLE indices or their interaction with baseline neuroticism. Timing of SLEs was taken into account by distinguishing recent from distant SLEs. To control for confounding by shared genes and environments, both within-twin pair and between-twin pair effects were tested for monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs separately. Neuroticism’s six-year stability was high (r=.58, p<.001). Exposure to SLEs modestly increased neuroticism (bs>.55, ps<.001), unconfounded by shared genes. This effect was not moderated by high baseline neuroticism. Recent SLEs (.09<bs<.15) had more impact than distant SLEs (.03<bs<.11; ps<.01). In conclusion, the findings strongly supported a model of environmentally driven SLEs causing dynamic fluctuations around a person’s set point of neuroticism.
Will people report both posttraumatic growth and depreciation following a highly stressful event? Using the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory as the measure of growth, two studies compared responses to equivalent items designed to assess depreciation. Both types of change were reported, but growth was reported at much higher levels, and there was no correlation between growth and depreciation. Small order and gender differences were found when the items were grouped into two separate sets, but not when equivalent items were paired. People experience both growth and depreciation on the same dimensions following a stressful event. Implications of these studies are discussed.
In this chapter we discuss how individuals can find a personal sense of meaning after confronting their own mortality. We assert that the pursuit of personal meaning can take one of two divergent paths depending on how the individual construes death. Specifically, we predict that thinking about death in an abstract and unspecified manner, in which an individual is able to deny the reality of death, leads to defensive attempts to seek meaning from symbolic sources that are external to the self. Alternatively, we predict that thinking about death in a specific and individuated manner, in which individuals consider their death as an experiential reality, leads to authentic, open, and more intrinsic strivings toward personal meaning. We review empirical evidence in support of these divergent paths of meaning in the context of altruism, creativity, psychological needs, values, and the motivation to pursue (or escape from) freedom.
Many African American youth may develop high levels of allostatic load, a measure of physiological wear and tear on the body, by developing psychosocial competence under conditions of high risk related to socioeconomic status (SES). The current study was designed to test this hypothesis, which is based on John Henryism theory. In a representative sample of 489 African American youth living in the rural South, cumulative SES-related risks and teacher-reported competence were assessed at ages 11 to 13; depressive symptoms, externalizing behavior, and allostatic load were assessed at age 19. The data revealed that rural African American preadolescents who evinced high psychosocial competence under conditions of high cumulative SES-related risk displayed low levels of adjustment problems along with high allostatic load at age 19. These results suggest that, for many rural African Americans, resilience may indeed be only "skin deep."
Based on recent theoretical and empirical advancements in personality psychology, this chapter proposes an intervention approach that enhances positive well-being by simply instructing individuals to act in ways that promote these positive outcomes. We review theoretical approaches and empirical evidence that has demonstrated that enacting certain personality traits enhances well-being. We then discuss how these findings can form the basis of a behavioral intervention approach that could serve to increase positive affect, enhance work performance as well as creative thinking, and even facilitate psychological growth in the aftermath of experiences of personal adversity.
Drawing from the author's psychological research on especially generative (that is, caring and productive) midlife American adults and on a reading of American cultural history and literature, this book identifies a prototypical story of the good life that many Americans employ to make sense of who they are, who they have been, and who they will be in the future. The central theme in this story is redemption - the deliverance from suffering to a positive status or outcome. Empirical research suggests that highly generative American adults are much more likely than their less generative counterparts to construe their lives as tales of redemption. Redemptive life stories promote psychological well-being, physical health, and the adult's commitment to making a positive contribution to society. But stories of redemption are as much cultural texts as they are individual psychological constructions. From the spiritual autobiographies composed by the Massachusetts Bay Puritans to the most recent episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show, common scripts for the redemptive self may be found in religious accounts of conversion and atonement, the rags-to-riches stories of the American dream, and canonical cultural narratives about personal liberation, freedom, and recovery. The book examines the psychological and cultural dynamics of redemptive life narratives, including the role of American religion and self-help as sources for the construction of life stories and the broad similarities, as well as the striking differences in how African-American and Euro-American adults construct redemptive stories of the self. For all their psychological and cultural power, redemptive life stories sometimes reveal important limitations in American identity. For example, some versions of the redemptive self underscore the naïve expectation that suffering will always be overcome and the arrogance of seeing one's own life as the living out of a personal manifest destiny.
“Diversifying experiences” (i.e., experiences that disrupt conventional and/or fixed patterns of thinking, thus enabling a person to view the world in multiple ways) are linked to more creativity. The impact of diversifying experiences was first indicated by historiometric research on “Big-C Creativity,” which identified effects operating at both societal and individual levels. The former level includes political fragmentation and cultural heterogeneity, whereas the latter includes traumatic experiences, minority status, and psychopathology. Furthermore, psychometric research on “little-c creativity” isolated such diversifying factors as cognitive disinhibition, bilingualism, and multiculturalism. Finally, recent laboratory experiments have lent additional support to the positive impact of diversifying experiences on creativity at both group and individual levels. Because excessive diversifying experiences probably inhibit creativity, and because the various experiences are to a certain extent interchangeable, different creative individuals may have been exposed to a different but still optimal mix.
Culture and PTGSociocultural Influences and PTG: Distal InfluencesThe Model of Posttraumatic GrowthCultural Influences and the PTG Model: Specific ConsiderationsA Clinical Footnote: The Proximate Culture of Psychotherapy
This article reports on meta-analyses of the relations of self-efficacy beliefs to academic performance and persistence. Results revealed positive and statistically significant relationships between self-efficacy beliefs and academic performance and persistence outcomes across a wide variety of subjects, experimental designs, and assessment methods. The relationships were found to be heterogeneous across studies, and the variance in reported effect sizes was partially explained by certain study characteristics. Implications for further research and for intervention are discussed.
This article describes the concept of posttraumatic growth, its conceptual foundations, and supporting empirical evidence. Posttraumatic growth is the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises. It is manifested in a variety of ways, including an increased appreciation for life in general, more meaningful interpersonal relationships, an increased sense of personal strength, changed priorities, and a richer existential and spiritual life. Although the term is new, the idea that great good can come from great suffering is ancient. We propose a model for understanding the process of posttraumatic growth in which individual characteristics, support and disclosure, and more centrally, significant cognitive processing involving cognitive structures threatened or nullified by the traumatic events, play an important role. It is also suggested that posttraumatic growth mutually interacts with life wisdom and the development of the life narrative, and that it is an on-going process, not a static outcome.
Citizens complete a survey the day before a major election; a change in the survey items' grammatical structure increases turnout by 11 percentage points. People answer a single question; their romantic relationships improve over several weeks. At-risk students complete a 1-hour reading-and-writing exercise; their grades rise and their health improves for the next 3 years. Each statement may sound outlandishmore science fiction than science. Yet each represents the results of a recent study in psychological science (respectively, Bryan, Walton, Rogers, & Dweck, 2011; Marigold, Holmes, & Ross, 2007, 2010; Walton & Cohen, 2011). These studies have shown, more than one might have thought, that specific psychological processes contribute to major social problems. These processes act as levers in complex systems that give rise to social problems. Precise interventions that alter themwhat I call wise interventionscan produce significant benefits and do so over time. What are wise interventions? How do they work? And how can they help solve social problems?
A major objection to the study of virtue asserts that the empirical psychological evidence implies traits have little meaningful impact on behavior, as slight changes in situational characteristics appear to lead to large changes in virtuous behavior. We argue in response that the critical evidence is not these effects of situations observed in social psychological experiments, but evidence of stable individual differences obtained from correlations of individual’s behaviors across multiple contexts. The totality of the empirical evidence is shown to support this claim: broad traits are real, prominent, and consequential, and these traits, conceptualized as density distributions of personality states, exhibit remarkable consistency. In short, the evidence in favor of individual differences is empirically solid, and the study of ethics focused on virtue is not threatened by psychological research.
Constructs concerning reward and threat sensitivity can be organised in several ways (along with other ideas). Which conceptual organisation is used channels interpretations of phenomena ostensibly reflecting the sensitivities. For example, a two-mode organisation in which behavioural inhibition can follow either from threat sensitivity or from effortful control (planful restraint) yields an interpretation of serotonergic function quite different from what many assume. In this view, accumulated evidence suggests that serotonergic function relates to effortful control, rather than threat sensitivity. Neurobiological tools are useful, but their usefulness often depends on psychological theory.
Symptoms associated with mental illness have been hypothesized to relate to creative achievement because they act as diversifying experiences. However, this theory has only been tested on predominantly majority-culture samples. Do tendencies toward mental illness still predict eminent creativity when they coexist with other diversifying experiences, such as early parental death, minority-status, or poverty? These alternative diversifying experiences can be collectively referred to as examples of developmental adversity. This conjecture was tested on a significant sample of 291 eminent African Americans who, by the nature of their status as long-term minorities, would experience more developmental adversity. Replicating majority-culture patterns, African American artists showed higher mental illness rates than African American scientists. Yet the absolute percentages were significantly lower for the African Americans, regardless of profession. Furthermore, mental illness predicted higher eminence levels only for the African American artists, an effect that diminished when controlling for developmental adversity. Because the latter predicted eminence for both artists and scientists, the "madness-to-genius" link probably represents just 1 of several routes by which diversifying experiences can influence eminence. The same developmental ends can be attained by different means. This inference warrants further research using other eminent creators emerging from minority culture populations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
The EAPP is a non-profit-making association for people with a university degree (or equivalent) who are involved in the development of empirical and/or theoretical personality psychology by way of research and/or authorship of books, learned articles, and other published materials. This article briefly describes some of the EAPP's activities, including conferences, newsletter, and journal (European Journal of Personality), and describes some of EAPP's organizational characteristics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
People commonly report growth after adversity. Can psychosocial intervention facilitate posttraumatic growth (PTG)?
This meta-analysis assesses the relationship between intervention participation and PTG using published and unpublished reports located with the database PsycINFO. Eligible studies included randomized controlled trials (k = 12) that provided a psychosocial intervention to people who had experienced an identifiable hardship or trauma (N = 1,171). None of these interventions were specifically designed to promote PTG as a primary outcome.
The overall controlled effect size (Hedges's g) of 0.36 (95% CI [0.23, 0.48]), using a fixed effects model, suggests that current interventions modestly increase PTG. Moderation analyses revealed little about the factors that increase interventions' effect on PTG, indicating only that interventions that administered the posttest soon after treatment tended to show larger effect sizes.
Overall, these estimates may be unreliable due to the small number of eligible studies and the varied types of interventions tested, but they suggest that active intervention can help people make the most of adversity.
Increasing numbers of empirical studies provide compelling evidence that personality traits change across the entire lifespan. What initiates this continuing personality development and how does this development proceed? In this paper, we compare six theoretical perspectives that offer testable predictions about why personality develops the way it does and identify limitations and potentials of these perspectives by reviewing how they hold up against the empirical evidence. While all of these perspectives have received some empirical support, there is only little direct evidence for propositions put forward by the five-factor theory of personality and the theory of genotype environment effects. In contrast, the neo-socioanalytic theory appears to offer a comprehensive framework that fits the empirical findings and allows the integration of other, more specialized, perspectives that focus on specific aspects of personality development like the role of time, systematic differences between categories of social roles or the active partake of the person him- or herself. We draw conclusions on the likely driving factors for adult personality development and identify avenues for future research.
Most theories of personality development posit that changes in life circumstances (e.g., due to major life events) can lead to changes in personality, but few studies have examined the exact time course of these changes. In this article, we argue that time needs to be considered explicitly in theories and empirical studies on personality development. We discuss six notions on the role of time in personality development. First, people can differ before the event. Second, change can be non-linear and discontinuous. Third, change can be reversible. Fourth, change can occur before the event. Fifth, control groups are needed to disentangle age-related and event-related changes. Sixth, we need to move beyond examining single major life events and study the effects of non-normative events, non-events, multiple events, and minor events on personality. We conclude by summarizing the methodological and theoretical implications of these notions.
Anecdotal and scientific evidence has documented the existence of a relationship between the experience of adversity and creativity. Accounts of the challenges endured by creative individuals suggest that they may have been able to channel their negative experiences as sources of inspiration and motivation for their work. Increased creativity may therefore constitute a manifestation of posttraumatic growth, defined as retrospective perceptions of positive psychological changes that take place following experiences of highly challenging life circumstances. To investigate this hypothesis, the present study tested whether scores on a measure of posttraumatic growth and depreciation related to scores on self-reported measures of creativity in the aftermath of adversity. Results of a path analysis showed that adversity-induced distress predicted self-reported creative growth and breadth in a sample of online participants. Cognitive processing (intrusive/deliberative rumination) as well as domains of posttraumatic growth/depreciation—in particular, self-reported changes in interpersonal relationships and in the perception of new possibilities for one’s life—mediated the link between self-reported distress and creativity outcomes. This study is the first focused investigation showing that self-reported posttraumatic growth may be manifested through perceptions of increased creativity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
The present study examined factors contributing to reported benefits of traumatic experiences or posttraumatic growth (PTG) in a college sample. Specifically, we examined dimensions typically associated with trauma recovery (i.e., psychological functioning, coping, emotion regulation) and features of the trauma (i.e., number and recency of traumatic events, average, and maximal distress). Participants (N= 193) completed standardized questionnaires measuring these constructs. Results indicated that active coping and subjective well-being independently contributed to PTG, but social desirability and symptom distress were independent of growth. These results were consistent with study expectations. Although not specifically predicted, maximal trauma distress also uniquely predicted PTG. Contrary to expectations, effective emotion regulation did not contribute to PTG.
Informed by current trauma literature, this study explored the relationships between Posttraumatic Growth (PTG; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1995), Posttraumatic Depreciation (PTD; Cann et al., 2010) and other post-trauma outcomes including well-being, psychological flourishing, and psychological distress. The predictive utility of PTG and PTD was also examined. The sample comprised 104 trauma survivors (28 community members and 76 university students) who completed the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory −42 (Baker et al., 2008) and several outcome measures. As expected, PTD showed strong linear correlations with well-being, flourishing and distress, and emerged as a significant predictor of scores on such measures. However, PTG showed negligible correlations with well-being, flourishing and distress. This reaffirms that PTG and PTD measure conceptually distinct and independent dimensions of experience, which has implications for therapeutic practice.
Fifty-two adults were interviewed about their bereavement, with specific focus on the ways in which the experience led to positive psychological changes in their lives. Most respondents described themselves as stronger or more competent in several ways, for example, being more mature, more independent, and better able to face other crises. A large number also reported that bereavement had led to positive experiences with their social support systems. These results are discussed in terms of their generalizability to other life crises and populations, and the degree to which they represent accurate insight and psychological health.
Although writing about traumatic events has been shown to produce a variety of health benefits, little is known about how writing produces benefits. The degree to which individuals form narrative structure when writing may predict health improvements. This study manipulated narrative formation during writing to test if narrative structure is necessary for writing to be beneficial. A total of 116 healthy students were randomly assigned to write about control topics or about their thoughts and feelings regarding the most traumatic event of their life in one of two ways: list in an fragmented format or construct a narrative. Individuals asked to form a narrative reported less restriction of activity because of illness and showed higher avoidant thinking than the other groups. The fragmented writing group did not differ from controls on any measure. These data (a) demonstrate that instructions to form a narrative produce a different response to writing than instructions to form fragmented and control writing and (b) suggest narrative formation may be required to achieve health benefits.
This study examined the effects of disclosure about a highly stressful event and
perceived social reactions to the disclosure on posttraumatic growth (PTG) and
distress. Participants (395 Japanese university students) reported on their most
traumatic life event that had occurred less than 10 years previously. Those who
had disclosed about their events provided open-ended descriptions of the perceived
social reactions they received. The reactions were coded using two different
classifications: a global categorization (Positive, Negative, and Other),
and then a more precise assignment to 7 categories (Sympathizing, Encouraging,
Listening, Mutual disclosing, Being confused, Not taking it seriously, and Other).
PTG was higher in those who disclosed about the event. In addition, those who
perceived their recipients' reactions as involving mutual disclosure reported higher
PTG than those who reported reactions of being confused, and higher distress
than those who reported reactions of listening, encouraging, and sympathizing.
These findings point to the importance of disclosure and of perceived recipients’
reactions to disclosure in the PTG and distress processes.
The purpose of the study was to explore the motivational basis for posttraumatic growth following secondary trauma among rescuers, nurses, and rehabilitation teams. The authors chose the framework of the cognitive orientation theory, which defines motivation as a function of beliefs of four types (about goals, norms, oneself, and reality) relevant to themes identified with posttraumatic growth. Regression analyses showed that the majority of variables associated with posttraumatic growth were predicted by the scores of the four belief types and thematic factors. These findings support the validity of cognitive orientation theory for assessing motivation for growth following secondary exposure to trauma.
Posttraumatic growth is a concept that has been established within a Western cultural framework. This review examines whether there is a Western cultural bias in this concept, and related processes and outcomes, and whether any cultural bias has been incorporated into associated psychometric tools. It is concluded that, although at an abstract level the concept of posttraumatic growth appears cross-culturally valid, the operationalization of the concept may serve to impose assumptions of a Western individualistic society. The impact of this for the emerging cross-cultural literature on posttraumatic growth is discussed, alongside recommendations for future research.
For the past decade, an increasing number of studies have demonstrated that when individuals write about emotional experiences, significant physical and mental health improvements follow. The basic paradigm and findings are summarized along with some boundary conditions. Although a reduction in inhibition may contribute to the disclosure phenomenon, changes in basic cognitive and linguistic processes during writing predict better health. Implications for theory and treatment are discussed.
There are good reasons to be skeptical about any efforts to bring together two fields of inquiry that have historically had little to do with each other - that is, personality psychology and the study of human development. Personality psychologists are by training, and maybe even temperament, suspicious of the idea of development, for to them it means change (i.s. instability, inconsistency), and personality is nothing if it is not at least somewhat enduring. Developmentalists, on the other hand, specialize in a certain kind of change - meaningful and orderly change over time.
Hedonic adaptation refers to the process by which individuals return to baseline levels of happiness following a change in life circumstances. Dominant models of subjective well-being (SWB) suggest that people can adapt to almost any life event and that happiness levels fluctuate around a biologically determined set point that rarely changes. Recent evidence from large-scale panel studies challenges aspects of this conclusion. Although inborn factors certainly matter and some adaptation does occur, events such as divorce, death of a spouse, unemployment, and disability are associated with lasting changes in SWB. These recent studies also show that there are considerable individual differences in the extent to which people adapt. Thus, happiness levels do change, and adaptation is not inevitable.