The ins and outs of posttraumatic growth in children and adolescents: A systematic review of factors that matter

Journal of Traumatic Stress - Journal Article

Posttraumatic growth (PTG) refers to a positive psychological change that occurs following a seismic and highly challenging life circumstance. An individual who experiences PTG reports posttrauma development that surpasses their baseline level of pretrauma function in various domains. The present systematic review of the current literature aimed to explore factors related to the development of PTG in children and adolescents exposed to trauma. Included studies investigated a range of factors that impact PTG development in youth from five countries: the United States, Israel, China, Japan, and Norway. Studies addressed multiple types of traumatic experiences, including medical trauma, war- and terror-related trauma, and environmental trauma. Findings suggested that factors that impact the development of PTG include the presence of posttraumatic stress symptoms, specifically intrusiveness, and cognitive factors, such as the use of positive reappraisal and deliberate rumination. Many factors demonstrated inconsistencies across studies, such as the impact of age, gender, social support, and parent factors. The findings from this systematic research study encourage the notion that certain clinical intervention strategies, such as deliberate rumination, positive reappraisal coping strategies, and trauma-informed group therapy, may facilitate growth in trauma survivors. Future research should test if these intervention strategies directly impact growth and whether there is an evidence-based form of intervention that can assist clinicians in taking a growth- and strengths-based perspective after trauma.

Extra: Edition: 20220429

C. Ferris, K. O'Brien
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