Date of Award

12-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Rodriguez, Benjamin

Abstract

Research related to positive psychological reactions following exposure to traumatic events, also known as post-traumatic growth (PTG), has suggested that support from others can facilitate such outcomes. The current study focused on whether people's perceptions of PTG differed based on the gender of a hypothetical survivor and nature of the trauma. Characterological differences amongst those who perceive growth as being more, or less, likely was also of interest. Perceptions of growth were measured in relation to three possible traumatic scenarios (vignettes) that were randomly assigned to participants. Following the vignette, participants completed a variety of self-report measures. Contrary to previous PTG literature, there were no consistent characterological differences among participants who did, and who did not, perceive growth as a possible outcome following trauma exposure. PTG was not related to nature of the trauma or gender of the survivor. Implications for clinical practice and future directions for research are discussed.

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