Exploring the Connection between Gender Roles and Posttrauma Growth
Gender roles may play an important part in an individual’s response to trauma and is an area of trauma treatment that has lacked empirical focus and treatment planning attention. Defined here, as the personal growth that occurs after traumatic experiences, Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) refers to the benefits of experiencing and overcoming adversity. In examining psychological theories of resilience, aspects of gender norms in the context of posttraumatic growth processes is not well understood. Here we use qualitative methods to investigate how perceptions of gender roles relate to sense of self-efficacy and the ability to grow from traumatic experiences. With this realization, we present results that express ways in which clinicians can use gender role experiences to better support growth after trauma. Findings point to the ways that genderrole mixing, role strain and gendered response to trauma, inform the PTG process. By exploring gender roles in trauma recovery, this research provides valuable insight for social service systems and broader helping communities. Moreover, we suggest that such findings can improve psychological treatment, social welfare and help transitional support specialists to be more effective in their direct support of trauma survivors and their families. This research also informs studies on the relationship between gender role and mental health and can help to ultimately increase resilience for those exposed to trauma.