What Are the Personality and Trauma Dynamics That Contribute to Posttraumatic Growth?

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Abstract

The goal of the current study is to explore the impact of different trauma types and some personality dynamics and their interactions on enhancing or impeding posttraumatic growth (PTG). We proposed a framework that describes such interactions based on the dual information processing systems theory. A sample of 620 college students from two Egyptian universities was tested. We used the Almost Perfect Measure (i.e., high standards, order, and self-discrepancy) to measure in part the precognitive value processing system (VPS), along with measures of PTG, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex PTSD, as well as a cumulative trauma scale that measures different trauma types. We used path analysis to test the proposed framework. Results confirmed the basic premises of the framework and replicated previous findings of the differential contribution of trauma types (based on their severity) to PTG. Striving for “standards” and “order” contributed significantly to PTG and predicted a significant reduction in mental health syndromes whereas self-discrepancy predicted decreases in PTG and increases in mental health symptoms. Furthermore, the results highlighted some of the trajectories resulted from the interface among personality dynamics, trauma severity, and suffering. We discuss the implications of the results for future research and interventions.

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