What is POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH? What does POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH mean? POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH meaning



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What is POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH? What does POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH mean? POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH meaning – POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH definition – POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH explanation.

Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.

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Post-traumatic growth (PTG) or benefit finding is positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning. These circumstances represent significant challenges to the adaptive resources of the individual, and pose significant challenges to their way of understanding the world and their place in it. Posttraumatic growth is not about returning to the same life as it was previously experienced before a period of traumatic suffering, but rather it is about undergoing significant ‘life-changing’ psychological shifts in thinking and relating to the world, that contribute to a personal process of change, that is deeply meaningful.

It is often characterized by decreased reactivity and faster recovery in response to similar stressors in the future. This occurs as a result of exposure to the event and subsequent learning. It is associated with the positive psychology movement. The term was coined by psychologists Richard G. Tedeschi and Lawrence G. Calhoun at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the mid-1990s. According to Tedeschi as many as 90 percent of survivors report at least one aspect of posttraumatic growth, such as a renewed appreciation for life. Traditional psychology’s equivalent to thriving is resilience, which is reaching the previous level of functioning before a trauma, stressor, or challenge. The difference between resilience and thriving is the recovery point – thriving goes above and beyond resilience, and involves finding benefits within challenges.

The general understanding that suffering and distress can potentially yield positive change is thousands of years old. For example, some of the early ideas and writing of the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and early Christians, as well as some of the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and the Baha’i Faith contain elements of the potentially transformative power of suffering. Attempts to understand and discover the meaning of human suffering represent a central theme of much philosophical inquiry and appear in the works of novelists, dramatists and poets. Scholarly interest in post-traumatic growth began to gain considerable strength in the 1990s, based on the idea that greater interest should be placed on studying people who are actually healthy, and the better and brighter aspects of human behavior. Today, there is overwhelming evidence that individuals facing a wide variety of very difficult circumstances experience significant changes in their lives as a result, many of which they view as highly positive. Posttraumatic growth has been documented in relation to various natural and human-made traumatic events, including life-threatening disease, war, abuse, immigration and death of loved ones. It has also been documented in many countries and in the context of different cultures with evidence that PTG is a universal phenomenon but also manifests some cultural variations. Growth from trauma has been conceptualized not only for individuals but also for families as systems.

Posttraumatic growth occurs with the attempts to adapt to highly negative sets of circumstances that can engender high levels of psychological distress such as major life crises, which typically engender unpleasant psychological reactions. Growth does not occur as a direct result of trauma, rather it is the individual’s struggle with the new reality in the aftermath of trauma that is crucial in determining the extent to which posttraumatic growth occurs. Encouragingly, reports of growth experiences in the aftermath of traumatic events far outnumber reports of psychiatric disorders, since continuing personal distress and growth often coexist.

As far as predictors of post-traumatic growth, a number of factors have been associated with adaptive growth following exposure to a trauma. Spirituality has been shown to highly correlate with post-traumatic growth and in fact, many of the most deeply spiritual beliefs are a result of trauma exposure (O’Rourke 2008). Social support has been well documented as a buffer to mental illness and stress response. ….

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