EFFECTS OF TRAUMA
INTENSITY ON
POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH:
DEPRESSION, SOCIAL SUPPORT, COPING
AND GENDER
Jennifer Steward
TRAUMA



Study of how events effect people
National Comorbidity Study
(Kessler, Chiu, Demler, & Walters,
2005)
 60% of Men
 51% of Women
Aftermath
Distress
 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD)

PTSD RELATIONSHIPS

Common PTSD Correlates:
Meta Analysis (Helgeson, Reynolds, & Tomich, 2006)
 Depression
 Trauma Severity
 Female more likely than males

Lack of Social Support has also been shown to be
related to greater levels of PTSD
(Ozer et. al, 2008; Brewin, Andrews & Valentine, 2000).
POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH


Positive consequences following trauma
The ability to thrive after experiencing a
traumatic event, with individuals showing an
increase in emotional, cognitive and/or
psychological resources.
(Wild & Paivio, 2003)

Two separate continuums, as opposed to
two sides of the same continuum.
(Borja, Callahan, & Long, 2006)
 Variables can be correlates of both PTG and PTSD
CURRENT FINDINGS IN PTG

Depression

Negative relationship, after two years
(Helgeson, Reynolds, & Tomich, 2006)

Coping

Positively related to problem- and emotion-focused coping
(Linley & Joseph, 2004)

Social Support- Inconsistent results
Weiss (2002)- Social support predicts PTG
Linley & Joseph (2004)- Does not, but satisfaction with
social support does.

Gender- Women are shown to experience more growth
(Helgeson, Reynolds, & Tomich, 2006)
TRAUMA INTENSITY

Large amount of variance in the experience of the
trauma



Literature evaluation of traumatic events
Subjective experience of the trauma
“There is no single profile of a [trauma victim], as
the extent and the nature of the impact varies
from person to person” (Futa, Nash, Hansen, and Garbin,
2003)
TRAUMA INTENSITY & PTG

Studies have shown that events perceived as
more severe were related to more PTG.
(Helgeson, Reynolds, & Tomich, 2006; Morris et al., 2005)
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY


Observe the effect trauma severity has on the
relationship between PTG and depression, social
support, coping strategies, and gender.
Clarify the relationships with PTG
METHODS USED

598 UNT students were surveyed using an online
mass testing experiment through the UNT
Psychology Department


All students received partial course credit for their
participation
Questionnaires Used
Traumatic Events Questionnaire
 PTSD Checklist
 Posttraumatic Growth Inventory
 Brief Cope
 Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology
 Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support

ANALYSIS

Creating trauma categories
 Two different splits

Median Split- Score of 25

Clinical Value- Score of 44
(Blanchard, Jones-Alexander, Buckley, & Forneris, 1996 )

Gender- Looked at mean PTGI scores for both
genders are each split.
OUR FINDINGS


Median Split

Depression-

Coping-

Social Support-
Clinical Split

All variables showed even stronger amplification of PTG
OUR FINDINGS (CONT.)
o
Gender Differences


Median split- no significant differences
Clinical split-Low trauma group = Women had more PTG
High trauma group = Men had more PTG
70
60
Male Low Severity
PCL Scores
50
40
Male High Severity
30
Female Low Severity
20
10
Female High Severity
0
Median
Clinical
WHAT IT MEANS/CONCLUSIONS



Subjective trauma severity matters
Clarification of PTG relationships in the
literature
Implications towards future research
REFERENCES











Blanchard, E.B., Jones-Alexander, J., Buckley, & T.C., Forneris, C.A. (1996). Psychometric
properties of the ptsd checklist (PCL). Behaviour Research and Therapy, 34(8), 669-673.
Borja, S.E., Callahan, J.L., & Long, P.J. (2006). Positive and negative adjustment and social
support of sexual assault survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19(6), 905-914.
Brewin, C.R., Andrews, B., & Valentine, J.D. (2000). Meta-analysis of risk factors for posttraumatic
stress disorder in trauma-exposed adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,
68(5), 748-766.
Futa, K.T., Nash, C.L., Hansen, D.J., & Garbin, C.P. (2003). Adult survivors of childhood abuse: An
analysis of coping mechanisms used for stressful childhood memories and current
stressors. Journal of Family Violence, 18, 227-239.
Helgeson, V.S., Reynolds, K.A., & Tomich, P.L. (2006). A meta-analytic review of benefit finding and
growth. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(5), 797-816.
Linley, P.A. & Joseph, S. (2004). Positive change following trauma and adversity: A review.
Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17, 11-21.
Morris, B.A., Shakespeare-Finch, J., Rieck, M., Newbery, J. (2005). Multidimensional nature of
posttraumatic growth in an Australian population. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(5), 575-585.
Ozer, E.J., Best, S.R., Lipsey, T.L., & Weiss, D.S. (2008). Predictors of posttraumatic stress
disorder and symptoms in adults: A meta-analysis. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research,
Practice and Policy, S(1), 3-36.
Tedeschi, R. & Calhoun, L. (1996). The posttraumatic growth inventory: Measure the positive
legacy of trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 455-471.
Weiss, T. (2002). Posttraumatic growth in women with breast cancer and their husbands: An
ntersubjective validation study. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 20, 65-80.
Wild, N.D. & Paivio, S.D. (2003). Psychological adjustment, coping, and emotional regulation as
predictors of posttraumatic growth. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma, 8(4),
97-122.
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Effects of Trauma Intensity on PTG: Depression, Social Support