Assessment of Posttraumatic Growth
The belief that trauma can ultimately result in positive outcomes is documented in philosophical and religious writings since the beginning of recorded history (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1995). Contemporary sources supporting the notion of growth from trauma include theories of psychotherapy (e.g., Frankl, 1963) and models of preventive psychiatry (e.g., Caplan, 1964). In fact, a cornerstone of modern crisis theory (Caplan, 1964) is the assumption that crises represent opportunities for growth, as well as for deterioration. Despite this very long history, it is only recently that behavioral scientists have begun to conduct empirical research on posttraumatic growth (PTG). As the preceding chapter illustrates, the conceptualization of PTG is not yet consensual, nor clearly explicated, and PTG theory is in its infancy. It is not surprising, then, that empirical research on PTG is scarce and, for the most part, methodologically primitive.