The journey of sensemaking and identity construction in the aftermath of trauma: Peer support as a vehicle for coconstruction

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    Abstract

    Sensemaking is rooted in identity construction and it is a particularly interpersonal process. Moreover, traumatic experiences are known to cause people to engage in sensemaking processes and identity construction. However, knowledge of how this works in an interpersonal,community setting, is lacking. The aim of this study is to assess how peer support contributes to the sensemaking processes and identity construction in the aftermath of trauma. Data from an observational study of organised peer support groups for (co)victims of serious crimes and survivors of traumatic loss were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Results show how participants of peer support groups move through several phases of sensemaking and identity construction in a fluid, dynamic, way. Identity work is collectively done. Through coconstruction of their identities, participants are able to make sense of a traumatic experience and progress towards a more self‐aware and self‐centred identity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Community Psychology
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2020

    Keywords

    • Community
    • Humans
    • interpersonal relations
    • Observation
    • Peer Group
    • Trauma
    • Victimization

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