Posttraumatic growth
: Examining relationships with PTSD, coping style and social support

  • Shelley Fletcher

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctorate in Clinical Psychology


The systematic review aimed to identify commonly found subgroups of posttraumatic stress (PTS) and posttraumatic growth (PTG), to identify clinically relevant factors that could distinguish the subgroups and to appraise the utility of categorizing individuals into subgroups based on PTS/PTG scores. A total of seven studies (and eight study samples) met the eligibility criteria. The findings revealed that the majority of the analyses (n=6) found three patterns of PTS and PTG. These were categorised as; 1) low PTS/low PTG, 2) posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)/PTG and 3) PTG. Social support was associated with the PTG class. Lower education and income and more severe trauma were associated with the PTSD/PTG class and this class was associated with higher anxiety, depression, poorer functioning and decreased life satisfaction. These findings can inform the developments of tailored interventions. The utility of person-centred approaches was discussed and recommendations to improve the application and reporting of such methods were made.

The research paper used a quantitative approach to examine relationships between PTG, PTS, social support and coping in two samples of trauma exposed adults (a student sample and a clinical sample). The study aimed to: 1) Examine the relationship between PTS and PTG, 2) examine potential predictors of PTG and 3) examine whether any of the significant predictors mediated the relationship between PTS and PTG. Within the student sample there was a significant positive linear relationship between PTS and PTG and within the clinical sample a significant negative linear relationship was found. Within both samples adaptive and maladaptive coping were associated with PTG. Coping styles mediated the relationship between PTS and PTG in the student sample. This study highlighted that the relationship between PTS and PTG varies between study samples. Higher levels of adaptive coping and lower levels of maladaptive coping were associated with PTG.
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorDonncha Hanna (Supervisor) & David Curran (Supervisor)


  • Posttraumatic growth
  • trauma
  • latent class analysis
  • latent profile analysis

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