Posttraumatic Growth as a Mediator of Self-Blame and Happiness in the Context of Interpersonal Violence

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Sexual assault (SA) and intimate partner violence (IPV) occur at alarming rates in the United States. Prior research indicates that victims of traumatic events frequently experience both positive and negative changes as part of their recovery process. The present study aimed to further existing research by examining the relationship between self-blame, posttraumatic growth (PTG), and happiness when controlling for posttraumatic stress and time since victimization. The current study analyzed 357 women who had experienced at least one incident of SA or IPV. We found that PTG partially mediated the relationship between self-blame and happiness, suggesting that PTG only somewhat explains the impact of self-blame on victim happiness. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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