PSYC 3690 Chapter Notes -Positive Illusions

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Published on 14 Apr 2013
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Article #: 23
Title: Posttraumatic Growth Among Adolescents
- the results demonstrate the existence of PTG among an adolescent population and
suggest that PTG can be related to important health behaviours such as substance
use
- although researchers have extensively studied the negative outcomes of traumatic
events, there is growing evidence indicating that these events can also lead to positive
outcomes
- this construing of benefits from traumatic events has been labeled posttraumatic group
(PTG), or stress-related growth and includes positive interpersonal (e.g. an increased
appreciation of life, changes in priorities, spirituality etc) and interpersonal changes
(e.g. improvements in relationships with family, increased expressiveness)
- the primary purpose of this study was to explore PTG among a younger population
- because children are less resilient than adults,w e assume that severe stressors
experienced during childhood as compared to adulthood, have less potential for
producing PTG
- however, there is evidence suggesting that PTG is indeed possible among younger
populations
Correlates of PTG
- PTG is considered more than just adaptation or being resilient, it is thriving - moving
beyond oneʼs original levels of function
- the nature of a traumatic experiences plays a role in subsequent growth
- trauma can shatter assumptions, and reduce positive illusions, to provide a window of
realism through which one can concentrate on various existential matters
- the more severe the trauma, the greater the reported PTG
- a significant association between existential awareness (e.g. awareness of lifeʼs
fragility) and personal growth
- time elapsed since the occurrence of trauma may play a role in PTG
- women report more PTG than men
- religiosity is positively correlated to PTG
- the existential paradigm of PTG suggests that one cannot experience good times
without (at some point) experiencing difficult time)
- the absence of depression is not an indicator of PTG, in addition, the presence of
depression is not necessary for PTG to occur
- PTG is not expected to be associated with depression
- the purpose of this study was to answer 3 major questions: (1) can PTG occur among
adolescents, (2) are the correlates of PTG found among previous studies also evident
among this sample, and (3) is substance use associated with PTG
- the use of alcohol or other drugs as a coping strategy could interfere with the cognitive
processing necessary for PTG
- we hypothesized that PTG would be inversely related to substance use behaviour
Discussion
- results suggest that PTG is possible among younger age groups, with nearly 30% of
these participants indicating at least moderate positive changes stemming from a
negative life event
- this is the first study that we are aware of that links PTG with lower levels of substance
abuse
- the question remains as to whether PTG should be appreciated as a positive
outcomes by itself or viewed as a means to some other end
- finding a newfound respect for life and a commitment to “live every day to the fullest”
after the death of a loved one has been linked to greater immune system functioning
- the results of this study suggest that lower levels of substance use behaviour could be
one pathway through which PTG leads towards higher levels of physical health
- the positive relationship between age and PTG is expectedly country to previous
research that examined PTG among adults
- religious participants were more likely to experience PTG
- PTG did not differ across type of life event
- although previous research finds females to display more PTG than males, this
difference was not present among our sample

Document Summary

The results demonstrate the existence of ptg among an adolescent population and suggest that ptg can be related to important health behaviours such as substance use. Although researchers have extensively studied the negative outcomes of traumatic events, there is growing evidence indicating that these events can also lead to positive outcomes. The primary purpose of this study was to explore ptg among a younger population. Because children are less resilient than adults,w e assume that severe stressors experienced during childhood as compared to adulthood, have less potential for producing ptg. However, there is evidence suggesting that ptg is indeed possible among younger populations. Ptg is considered more than just adaptation or being resilient, it is thriving - moving beyond one s original levels of function. The nature of a traumatic experiences plays a role in subsequent growth. Trauma can shatter assumptions, and reduce positive illusions, to provide a window of realism through which one can concentrate on various existential matters.