The Roles of Needs Satisfaction, Cognitive Appraisals, and Coping Strategies in Promoting Posttraumatic Growth: A Stress and Coping Perspective

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Abstract

Objective: There is growing interest in understanding people’s positive changes after their negative life experiences. Previous studies have shown that coping resources, cognitive appraisal, and coping strategies are associated with posttraumatic growth (PTG). This study aimed to extend previous findings by applying the stress and coping model and the self-determination theory to further understand the psychological factors (including basic psychological needs satisfaction and coping variables) that promote PTG. Method: An ethnically diverse sample of 454 college students participated in an online survey. A hierarchical regression was conducted to examine the associations among the coping variables and PTG. Results: After we controlled for gender, number of types of traumatic events, and the level of current distress due to the most traumatic event, results from a hierarchical regression analysis revealed that satisfaction of relatedness need, challenge appraisal, emotional expression, acceptance, and positive reframing were associated with higher PTG. Conclusions: Our findings support the facilitating role of these factors in promoting PTG. Interventions that help people to reevaluate the impact of the negative events, improve people’s skills in using appropriate cognitive and emotional coping strategies, and facilitate supportive environment for psychological needs satisfaction may increase people’s PTG.

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