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Posttraumatic Growth in Trauma Recollections of 9/11 Survivors: A Narrative Approach

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The relationship between posttraumatic growth (PTG) and adaptation is unclear. This study is the first to examine PTG in trauma narratives of survivors of the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks. Participants recalled their experiences 7 and 18 months post 9/11, and content analysis was conducted to detect PTG. Posttraumatic stress was also measured. PTG was commonly reported. Relating to others and positivity were frequent in the PTSD and non-PTSD group, although less frequent over time in the PTSD. Greater appreciation for life was reported by the non-PTSD group but relatively absent in the PTSD group. Women but not men reported relating to others across time. It appears that there are distinct profiles of growth implicated in distress and adaptation.
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Keywords: Content analysis; gender; narrative; posttraumatic growth; posttraumatic stress disorder; trauma memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA 2: Department of Organizational Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, USA

Publication date: July 3, 2016

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