Implications of Posttraumatic Growth for Individuals
Much of this book is devoted to describing what is known about how people may grow through traumatic events, the kinds of personal and situational factors that may be involved in determining who reports growth, when and how such growth is reported, and the kinds of growth people may experience. Given this information, an important question becomes, “So what? What does growth actually mean in the lives of the people who report experiencing it?” This chapter addresses the question of what self-reported growth following traumatic experiences means in people’s lives in terms of their current and future functioning. Specifically, are they “better off than people who do not experience such growth? If so, what mechanisms might account for this enhanced adjustment? And in what ways is this enhanced functioning exhibited? Are people who report growth happier, healthier, or less depressed that those who don’t? Is selfreported growth related to better coping with current and future events? Like many other aspects of this field of study, both the theoretical and empirical literature regarding the consequences of growth for the individual are somewhat sparse and imprecise, although writers and researchers have recently begun to direct more sophisticated attention this way.