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Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence

Richard G. Tedeschi and Lawrence G. Calhoun
Psychological Inquiry
Vol. 15, No. 1 (2004), pp. 1-18
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20447194
Page Count: 18
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Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence
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Abstract

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 ongoing process, not a static outcome.

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