chapter  3
22 Pages

A Developmental Perspective on Posttraumatic Growth

WithCarolyn M.Ald win and Karen J.Sutton

Some of the most fascinating aspects of the study of stress and trauma are its long-term outcomes-how is it that the same phenomenon can have tremendously different effects in different individuals? Although almost no one disputes the fact that psychosocial stress can have negative impacts on well-being, whether physical, psychological, or social, there is growing evidence of the positive concomitants of undergoing stress and trauma (for reviews, see Tedeschi, Park, & Calhoun, chap. 1, this volume). We have argued elsewhere that in order to understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to take a developmental perspective (Aldwin, 1994; Aldwin & Stokols, 1988). This can be done in two ways. The macro-perspective simply examines the long-term outcomes of organisms which have been stressed, especially vis-à-vis their ability to respond to later stressors, whereas the micro-perspective seeks to understand the processes through which stress can have long-term effects.