Well-being, coping and growth following trauma: a thesis research portfolio
Turnbull, Fiona Claire
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This thesis portfolio consists of two key pieces of work, a systematic review and an empirical research project, both of which explore outcomes associated with traumatic experiences. Systematic Review – There is a growing body of literature which demonstrates that, alongside the difficulties people may experience following trauma, many individuals are also likely to report growth following the struggle to come to terms with the event. This review explores the evidence for a relationship between reported growth and distress following civilian, interpersonal trauma. The review includes 13 studies which met the inclusion criteria (9 cross-sectional and 4 prospective). Findings are inconsistent and suggest that prospective study designs are more likely than cross-sectional designs to report significant relationships. A number of methodological issues and the implications for future research are discussed. Empirical Research Project – Survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) present with a wide range of difficulties and the current evidence base for the treatment of complex trauma is limited. It is proposed that self-compassion and forgiveness based approaches may have the potential to be of benefit to this population. This cross-sectional study explored the relationships between posttraumatic stress symptoms, dissociation, self-blame, self-compassion and forgiveness. A clinical sample of adult survivors of CSA (N = 19) completed all measures. In keeping with previous literature, significant relationships were found between posttraumatic stress and both dissociation and self-blame. Forgiveness was positively correlated with dissociation, but not the other variables and no significant relationships were found between self-compassion and the variables of interest. Findings, implications and study limitations are discussed.