Children's experience of posttraumatic growth: Distinguishing general from domain-specific correlates

O.M. Laceulle, R.J. Kleber, E. Alisic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Although the five domains of posttraumatic growth (new possibilities, relating to others, personal strength, spiritual change and appreciation of life) have been studied extensively in adults, little is known about these domains and their correlates in children. We aimed to examine whether demographic and/or social characteristics are related to children's reports of overall posttraumatic growth and of growth in specific domains. In a general population study, children aged 8-12 years who had been exposed to adverse events (N = 1290) filled out questionnaires on their experiences, demographic characteristics (gender, age, time lag since event), stress reactions, peer support, religiosity and posttraumatic growth. All demographic and social characteristics were related to overall posttraumatic growth, except time lag. Associations varied across the five domains with the strongest effects being found for stress reactions and religiosity. A higher level of stress reactions was related to more growth in all domains (general effect), whereas religious children experienced more spiritual growth than non-religious children without differences on other domains (domain specific effect). Other effects were small, and some did not remain significant after Bonferroni corrections. These findings suggest the presence of both general and domain-specific correlates of child posttraumatic growth. Although effects were generally small, the current findings show the need to differentiate between the domains of posttraumatic growth in both further research and clinical practice. This will allow a better understanding of the mechanisms of posttraumatic growth in children as well as more tailored assessment and intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0145736
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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