Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & Treatment ISSN: 2324-8947

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Moderate Trauma Exposure and Severity Provides Greater Potential for Posttraumatic Growth

Moderate Trauma Exposure and Severity Provides Greater Potential for Posttraumatic Growth

Objective: This study examined the relations among trauma exposure, trauma severity, and positive change variables of resilience and posttraumatic growth (PTG).
Methods: Quadratic and cubic relationships were examined through polynomial regressions for 908 participants with a mean age of 19.99 (SD=1.97) years.
Results: Relationships were not significant for trauma exposure and resilience, and trauma severity and resilience. However, an inverted U-shaped, quadratic relationship was significant for PTG and trauma severity, suggesting positive consequences for intermediate levels of severity in comparison to higher or lower levels. After moderate levels of trauma severity are experienced, PTG begins to decrease. A cubic relationship was significant between trauma exposure and PTG. Initial trauma exposure corresponded to increases in PTG, but as the number of exposures increased beyond a moderate level, PTG began to decline. This relationship increased again as trauma exposures became even greater.
Conclusions: Collectively, these findings highlight that the greatest potential to experience PTG after trauma occurs is when the level of trauma exposure and trauma severity is at a moderate level.

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