chapter  6
24 Pages

Models of Life Change and Posttraumatic Growth

WithVirginia E.O’Leary, C.Sloan Alday, and Jeannette R.Ickovics

The field of psychology has widely acknowledged and clearly documented the negative impact of stressful events. Stress increases one’s vulnerability to physical illness (Cohen, Tyrell, & Smith, 1993; Harris, 1991) and psychological difficulties (Avison & Gotlib, 1994; Frazier & Schauben, 1994; Vrana & Lauterbach, 1994). Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a syndrome originally intended to describe the symptoms of war veterans, first appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders in 1980 (DSM-III), and has since been used to document symptoms and problematic behaviors of individuals following a variety of traumatic events: natural disaster, childhood sexual abuse, victimization, or witnessing a violent death (cf. Briere & Runtz, 1988; Browne & Finkelhor, 1986; Hodgkinson, Joseph, Yule, & Williams, 1995; Ursano, Fullerton ton, Kao, & Bhartiya, 1995).