Reducing Reports of Illusory Posttraumatic Growth: A Revised Version of the Stress-Related Growth Scale (SRGS-R)

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Abstract

Objective: We evaluated a revised version of the Stress-Related Growth Scale (SRGS-R) against the original version (SRGS) and the most commonly used measure of posttraumatic growth, the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI). The SRGS-R differs from the SRGS in that (a) the wording of each item was modified from implying positive change to neutral wording and (b) the rating scale includes both positive and negative impacts, which we believe makes the SRGS-R less prone to reports of illusory growth. Method: Participants (N = 615) completed either the SRGS-R, the SRGS, or the PTGI, along with convergent (e.g., meaning in life), outcome (depression, anxiety, global distress, well-being, PTSD symptoms, and quality of life), and coping measures. Results: The PTGI and the original SRGS yielded a similar pattern of results. We replicated past findings that the PTGI was unrelated to depression, anxiety, global distress, and quality of life, and positively related to PTSD symptoms. In stark contrast, the SRGS-R was significantly related to less depression, anxiety, global distress, and greater quality of life. Most notably, the SRGS-R was negatively related to PTSD symptoms. All 3 measures had acceptable associations with convergent measures and were related to use of emotion and problem-focused coping. However, the PTGI was positively related to venting and denial, whereas the SRGS-R was negatively associated with avoidance coping. Conclusions: Our findings suggest the SRGS-R is less prone to reports of illusory growth. Improved measurement of posttraumatic growth is vital to our understanding of how individuals grow from traumatic or stressful experiences.

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