Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project


Len Jennings, PhD, LP; James Burns, PhD, LP


This doctoral project aimed to better understand the experience of posttraumatic growth. Unfortunately, the majority of people in the world experience trauma or adversity in their lives. A paradigm shift has begun in the trauma literature that includes not only exploration into distress reactions but into positive psychological adjustment following trauma. The literature thus far has highlighted several variables that have been associated with the development of posttraumatic growth including: greater appreciation of life, closer social connections, increased personal strength, recognition of new possibilities, and spiritual development. In the present study, an open-ended, flexible, and exploratory research design was utilized to capture the complexity and richness of six participants’ experiences of posttraumatic growth. Themes of distress, survival, religion/spirituality, cognitive changes, social connections, and advice to others emerged from the data. Clinical applications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.


posttraumatic, growth, trauma

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.