Chapter 30Clinical Applications of Posttraumatic Growth


For almost 30 years, we have been examining a phenomenon that has been recognized since ancient times, that suffering sometimes yields strengthening and growth (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1995). It is a theme found in literature, both ancient and modern, in religion and philosophy, and more recently it has been reported in the social and behavioral science literature. Pioneering thinkers such as Caplan (1964) and Frankl (1963) recognized the possibility that positive psychological change could occur in the context of highly stressful circumstances. In earlier empirical reports, growth associated with attempts to adapt to highly challenging events was examined as a peripheral factor (e.g., Andreasen & Norris, 1972; Lopata, 1973). More recently, we have considered how this process occurs in attempts to cope with bereavement (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 1989–1990; Calhoun, Tedeschi, Fulmer, & Harlan, 2000; Taku, Calhoun, Cann, & Tedeschi, 2008; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2003; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2007; Tedeschi, Calhoun, Morrell, & Johnson, 1984), physical disability (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1988), and war (Powell, Rosner, Butollo, Tedeschi, & Calhoun, 2003; Tedeschi, Calhoun, & Engdahl, 2001; Tedeschi, 2011; Tedeschi & McNally, 2011), and looked at how this process may affect entire societies (Tedeschi, 1999). The available data suggest that at least a significant minority of individuals ...

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