Trauma & Transformation: Growing in the Aftermath of Suffering
Publication Year: 1995
Subject: Clinical Psychology (general)
“There are a growing number of books on the market focusing on the history, symptomatology, and treatment of trauma and PTSD. This book provides something unique as its purpose is to highlight the ‘personal positive growth or strengthening that often occurs in persons who have faced traumatic events.’ As the book points out, this is a sadly neglected area in terms of research.… This book has something to offer to the layperson and those who have experienced a traumatic event as well as to the seasoned professional. It is written in an easily accessible style and, given the price of books these days, is also a good value for the money.” --Gladeana McMahon in British Psychological Society Counseling Psychology Review “This is a useful book, ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: The Uses of Suffering: Religious and Psychological Roots
- Tragedy in Philosophy and Literature
- Religious Views of Suffering
- Psychological Views of Suffering
- Plan for This Book
- Chapter 2: The Negative Consequences of Trauma
- What Makes Events Traumatic?
- The Negative Impact of Traumatic Events
- Negative Psychological Effects
- Physical Problems and Complaints
- Life Stress and Psychiatric Disorder
- Does Time Heal All Wounds?
- Is There a Positive Side?
- Chapter 3: Psychological Growth from Trauma: Research Findings
- Perceived Changes in Self: Self-Reliance and Vulnerability
- Increased Self-Reliance and Personal Strength
- Recognition and Appreciation of Vulnerability
- A Changed Sense of Relationship with others
- Self-Disclosure and Emotional Expressiveness
- Compassion, Empathy, and Effort in Relationships
- A Changed Philosophy of Life
- Chapter 4: Personality Characteristics and Successful Coping
- Locus of Control
- Sense of Coherence
- The “Big Five” Personality Factors
- Creative Copers: Common Themes
- Chapter 5: Tasks and Cognitive Processes in Coping with Trauma
- Making the Crisis Manageable
- Primary and Secondary Control
- Use of Religious Beliefs
- Vicarious Learning
- Downward Social Comparisons
- Reducing Emotional Distress
- Making the Crisis Comprehensible
- Schemas: Basic Assumptions about Life
- Traumas as Challenges to Schemas
- Finding That Life Continues to Be Meaningful
- Religious Routes to Meaning
- Benefits of Religious Meanings
- Chapter 6: How Growth Happens: A Model for Coping with Trauma
- Principle 1: Growth Occurs When Schemas are Changed by Traumatic Events
- Principle 2: Certain Assumptions are More Resistant to Disconfirmation by Any Events, and Therefore Reduce Possibilities for Schema Change and Growth
- Principle 3: The Reconstrual after Trauma Must Include Some Positive Evaluation for Growth to Occur
- Principle 4: Different Types of Events are Likely to Produce Different Types of Growth
- Principle 5: Personality Characteristics are Related to Possibility for Growth
- Principle 6: Growth Occurs When the Trauma Assumes a Central Place in the Life Story
- Principle 7: Wisdom is a Product of Growth
- Summary of Principles of Growth
- A General Model for Personal Growth Resulting from Trauma
- Chapter 7: Support and Intervention
- The Role of Friends and Family
- Mutual Help
- Professional Help
- Supporting Self-Perceptions of Benefits and Growth
- Respectful Intervention
- Is the Client Ready for Growth?
- Using the Survivor's Belief System
- Narrative Development
- Chapter 8: Research Directions
- Unanswered Questions
- Person Variables
- Situational Variables
- The Validity of Personal Experience
- Which Perspective and Which Methods?
- Qualitative Approaches
- Quantitative Approaches
- A Research Strategy
- Chapter 9: Guideposts for People Challenged by Trauma
- Experience is the Teacher
- A Willingness to Accept and Endure
- The Challenge Perspective
- Searching for Humor
- Needing and Serving others
- An Active Search for the Gains in the Losses
- Readings in Transformation
For Mary Lynne, Eliza, and Mary Laura. The joys of my life.L. G. C.
For Joan, Michael, and my parents, for all they have given.R. G. T.
Copyright © 1995 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Tedeschi, Richard G.
Trauma and transformation: Growing in the aftermath of suffering / Richard G. Tedeschi, Lawrence G. Calhoun.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8039-5256-2 (alk. paper).—ISBN 0-8039-5257-0 (pbk.: alk. paper)
1. Suffering. 2. Life change events—Psychological aspects. 3. Adjustment (Psychology) 4. Self-actualization (Psychology)
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
99 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
Sage Production Editor: Tricia K. Bennett
Sage Typesetter: Andrea D. Swanson
Cover Illustration: Dawn Anderson
This volume is an attempt to weave together material from various writings in philosophy, religion, and especially psychology to account for a phenomenon that has been recognized since ancient times but given little attention by psychologists: the experience of personal growth or strengthening that often occurs in persons who have faced traumatic events. We use an essentially cognitive framework to explain this experience because changes in belief systems seem to be so often reported by persons who describe their growth, and these beliefs appear to play a central role in relieving emotional distress and encouraging useful activity.
Although both of us have experienced traumatic events in our lives, we are personally unfamiliar with many of the events mentioned in this book. Our teachers have been the clients with whom we have worked as clinicians, and the people who have agreed to talk with us, sometimes for hours, as part of our research studies in this area. It is to these people we owe the greatest debt. They have not only informed us as psychologists, but made us more sensitive to the struggles and victories of those who have been most painfully touched by life.
We hope that we have presented information in a way that is accessible to clinicians, laypersons, and especially in Chapter 9, other people who have experienced trauma. We have also tried to summarize a far-flung literature and describe a way of understanding the process of growth that will encourage more attention from researchers. In addition, we believe that this book can be used as a supplementary [Page x]text in courses on human development, crisis intervention, and introductory courses in counseling and psychotherapy. It is also our hope that this book will be useful as a resource for helping professionals in a variety of disciplines, including psychology, social work, psychiatry, family counseling, human services, nursing, and sociology.
We wish to acknowledge the assistance of Arnie Cann, Lori Folk, Carl Frye, Donna Harding, and the other students and colleagues with whom we have the pleasure to work. We thank Raymond Berger for his helpful and incisive review of our manuscript. We are especially grateful for the reassignment of duties granted to the senior author by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. This greatly facilitated the completion of this project. Finally, we express our appreciation to our editors at Sage, Marquita Flemming and Jim Nageotte, for supporting our work.Charlotte, North Carolina, ,
Appendix: The Post Traumatic Growth Inventory[Page 139]
Indicate for each of the statements below the degree to which this change occurred in your life as a result of your crisis, using the following scale.
- 1 = I did not experience this change as a result of my crisis.
- 2 = I experienced this change to a very small degree as a result of my crisis.
- 3 = I experienced this change to a small degree as a result of my crisis.
- 4 = I experienced this change to a moderate degree as a result of my crisis.
- 5 = I experienced this change to a great degree as a result of my crisis.
- 6 = I experienced this change to a very great degree as a result of my crisis.
NOTE: Scale is scored by adding all responses. Factors are scored by adding responses to items on factors.
- My priorities about what is important in life. (IV)
- I'm more likely to try to change things which need changing. (I)
- An appreciation for the value of my own life. (IV)
- A feeling of self-reliance. (Ill)
- A better understanding of spiritual matters. (V)
- Knowing that I can count on people in times of trouble. (II)
- A sense of closeness with others. (II)
- Knowing I can handle difficulties. (Ill)
- A willingness to express my emotions. (II)
- Being able to accept the way things work out. (Ill)
- Appreciating each day. (IV)
- Having compassion for others. (II)
- I'm able to do better things with my life. (I)
- New opportunities are available which wouldn't have been otherwise. (I)
- Putting effort into my relationships. (II)
- I have a stronger religious faith. (V)
- I discovered that I'm stronger than I thought I was. (Ill)
- I learned a great deal about how wonderful people are. (II)
- I developed new interests. (I)
- I accept needing others. (II)[Page 140]
- I established a new path for my life. (I)
Factor I: New Possibilities
Factor II: Relating to Others
Factor III: Personal Strength
Factor IV: Appreciation of Life
Factor V: Spiritual ChangeThe Development of the Post Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI)Item Development
The first step in developing the PTGI was a general review of studies of perceived benefits. Thirty-four items were generated.Factor Analysis
A factor analysis was performed on these items using a principal component extraction and varimax rotation, yielding six factors. These accounted for 55% of the common variance and included 21 items that loaded greater than .5 on one of the five factors without loading .4 or greater on any other factor. There was a Pearson product-moment correlation of r = .98 between total score based on the 21-item version of the PTGI and the total score based on 34 items.Norms
Females reported more benefits (M = 75.18, SD = 21.24) than males (M = 67.77, SD = 22.07), t(1, 590) = 3.94, p < .001. Females also scored higher than males on every factor except New Possibilities.Internal Consistency and Test-Retest Reliability
The internal consistency of the PTGI is α = .90, and for the factors, a ranged from .67 to .85. Corrected item-scale correlations (r = .35 to r = .63) indicated [Page 141]that all items are measuring a similar underlying construct, but none is overly redundant with the others. The Pearson product-moment correlations among the subscales ranged from r = .27 to r = .52.
In a sample of 28 persons, the test-retest reliability over a 2-month period for the 21 items was r = .71.Construct Validity
Some discriminant validity work has been done with samples ranging from N = 318 to N = 449. Only the Appreciation of Life factor is related to social desirability, but the modest relationship (r = −.15) indicates that persons reporting more appreciation of life are less likely to present themselves in a socially desirable fashion. The PTGI is modestly correlated with optimism (r = .23), as measured by the Life Orientation Test (Scheier & Carver, 1985). Among the “Big Five” factors of personality, as measured by the NEO Personality Inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1985), the PTGI is most strongly related to Extroversion (r = .29). It is also related at more modest levels to Openness to Experience (r = .21), Agreeableness (r = .18), and Conscientiousness (r = .16). There is no relationship with Neuroticism, indicating that persons who report benefits from experiencing trauma are neither more nor less well adjusted than persons who do not report these benefits.
Persons experiencing severe trauma reported more benefits than those who did not, on the PTGI score and on the following factors: New Possibilities, Relating to Others, Personal Strength, and Appreciation of Life. Females who experienced trauma received higher scores on the PTGI (M = 90.26) than did males (M = 73.48). Complete data on scale development and validity studies are reported in Tedeschi and Calhoun (in press).[Page 142]
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About the Authors[Page 163]
Richard G. Tedeschi is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a practicing clinical psychologist. He is the author of articles on coping and growth in response to trauma, with bereavement being a particular area of study. He has been interested in the process of mutual support as a facilitator of parental and sibling bereavement support groups for many years. His university teaching has focused on the psychology of personality and on clinical training and supervision, especially integrative therapy techniques and clinician responses to client trauma. His nonprofessional time is taken up with tending to his patch of land in the country.
Lawrence G. Calhoun is Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a practicing clinical psychologist. He is the coauthor of Dealing With Crisis (1976), Psychology and Human Reproduction (1980), and numerous scholarly articles, and he is currently on the editorial board of Omega—Journal of Death and Dying. His scholarly activities have focused on the responses of persons encountering significant life crises and on the social responses of others to the individuals directly affected by trauma. He has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in a variety of applied areas, and his clinical work is focused on adults facing depression and anxiety or coping with highly challenging life circumstances. His nonprofessional interests include reading, pickup games of basketball, and, as a Brazilian-born American, a fanatical devotion to World Cup soccer.