“I get knocked down, but I get up again” – A qualitative exploration of posttraumatic growth after multiple traumas

Brooks, Matthew orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5469-7769, Graham-Kevan, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0621-3093, Robinson, Sarita Jane orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4237-5412 and Lowe, Michelle orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9649-4938 (2021) “I get knocked down, but I get up again” – A qualitative exploration of posttraumatic growth after multiple traumas. Traumatology, 27 (3). pp. 274-284. ISSN 1534-7656

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Official URL: https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/trm0000299


Theories of positive change following traumatic events, known as posttraumatic growth, posit that growth occurs in predetermined domains. However, the domains in which growth occurs have largely been suggested from the results of studies that have looked at isolated traumatic events. The current article has 2 aims: first, to explore whether looking for growth only in predetermined domains limits opportunities to identify other changes that may occur and, second, to describe growth processes and outcomes in survivors of multiple, rather than single, traumatic events. A total of 26 semistructured interviews analyzed with thematic analysis revealed 2 themes (outcomes of trauma and processing trauma) and 7 subthemes (managing subsequent stressors, identity changes, coexisting positive and negative changes, trauma-related thoughts, control perceptions, spiritual challenges, and social support and disclosure). Of these themes, the ability to handle subsequent stressors, identity changes, and control perceptions have not been previously reported in qualitative studies. More flexible conceptualizations of growth are needed to understand the nuances of positive change among survivors who have experienced multiple types of trauma. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

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