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Posttraumatic growth in physical health conditions: the role of distress and cognitive processing

Posttraumatic growth in physical health conditions: the role of distress and cognitive processing
Posttraumatic growth in physical health conditions: the role of distress and cognitive processing
Physical health conditions can be traumatic and are often associated with psychological morbidity. Recently, researchers have recognised that people are also capable of experiencing enhanced interpersonal relationships, greater appreciation of life and increased personal strength as a result of physical health problems. Typically, this posttraumatic growth has been conceptualised from the perspective of acute trauma, thus a need to better understand the development of the phenomenon for people with health related trauma and examine the relevance of current theoretical models was identified. This review presents an evaluation of empirical literature relating to four theoretical models of posttraumatic growth. The review highlights the commonalities of the models in their emphasis on distress and cognitive processing as crucial for positive outcomes although the research reflects mixed findings for the role of distress. The discussion explores the clinical implications of the literature whilst acknowledging the need for further, theory-driven research with populations affected by sudden onset physical health conditions.

Consequently, the empirical paper examines key predictions of an influential theoretical model of posttraumatic growth in adults after spinal cord injury. Using a cross-sectional design, the study aimed to understand the role of cognitive processing and distress in the development of posttraumatic growth. A total of 102 participants between one and 42 months post-injury completed measures of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, intrusive rumination, deliberate rumination and posttraumatic growth. Overall, participants exhibited comparable levels of posttraumatic growth to other health populations with depression and deliberate cognitive processing significantly predictive of growth outcomes. However, different types of distress showed different relationships with posttraumatic growth. The study findings were consistent with other empirical studies and revealed important clinical implications for the provision of psychological therapy to people after spinal cord injury. The methodological limitations and modifications that would benefit from further research are discussed.
Beckwith, Philippa
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Beckwith, Philippa
47c64fbd-4c08-4192-9446-b6842b9a968e
Kirby, Sarah
9be57c1b-5ab7-4444-829e-d8e5dbe2370b
North, Nigel
10de4bd6-e6a3-4ae6-919f-d36ec8a5602b

(2013) Posttraumatic growth in physical health conditions: the role of distress and cognitive processing. University of Southampton, School of Psychology, Doctoral Thesis, 159pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Physical health conditions can be traumatic and are often associated with psychological morbidity. Recently, researchers have recognised that people are also capable of experiencing enhanced interpersonal relationships, greater appreciation of life and increased personal strength as a result of physical health problems. Typically, this posttraumatic growth has been conceptualised from the perspective of acute trauma, thus a need to better understand the development of the phenomenon for people with health related trauma and examine the relevance of current theoretical models was identified. This review presents an evaluation of empirical literature relating to four theoretical models of posttraumatic growth. The review highlights the commonalities of the models in their emphasis on distress and cognitive processing as crucial for positive outcomes although the research reflects mixed findings for the role of distress. The discussion explores the clinical implications of the literature whilst acknowledging the need for further, theory-driven research with populations affected by sudden onset physical health conditions.

Consequently, the empirical paper examines key predictions of an influential theoretical model of posttraumatic growth in adults after spinal cord injury. Using a cross-sectional design, the study aimed to understand the role of cognitive processing and distress in the development of posttraumatic growth. A total of 102 participants between one and 42 months post-injury completed measures of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, intrusive rumination, deliberate rumination and posttraumatic growth. Overall, participants exhibited comparable levels of posttraumatic growth to other health populations with depression and deliberate cognitive processing significantly predictive of growth outcomes. However, different types of distress showed different relationships with posttraumatic growth. The study findings were consistent with other empirical studies and revealed important clinical implications for the provision of psychological therapy to people after spinal cord injury. The methodological limitations and modifications that would benefit from further research are discussed.

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More information

Published date: May 2013
Organisations: University of Southampton, Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 358525
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/358525
PURE UUID: a8f06b7e-6009-424c-a654-c89693256149
ORCID for Sarah Kirby: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1759-1356

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Date deposited: 10 Dec 2013 11:29
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:46

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