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Melvin Stephens

Refining our Understanding of Traumatic Growth in the Face of Terrorism: Moving from Meaning Cognitions to Doing what is Meaningful

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Hobfoll, S.E., B.J. Hall, D. Canetti-Nisim, Sandro Galea, Robert Alan Johnson, and P.A. Palmieri. 2007. "Refining our Understanding of Traumatic Growth in the Face of Terrorism: Moving from Meaning Cognitions to Doing what is Meaningful." Applied Psychology-an International Review-Psychologie Appliquee-Revue Internationale, 56(3): 345-366.

Recent studies related to global terrorism have suggested the potential of posttraumatic growth (PTG) following experiences of terror exposure. However, investigations of whether psychological distress is reduced or increased by PTG in other trauma contexts have been inconsistent. Results from our studies conducted in New York following the attacks of 11 September 2001 and in Israel during recent tumultuous periods of violence and terrorism, the Al Aqsa Intifada, have found posttraumatic growth to be related to greater psychological distress, more right-wing political attitudes, and support for retaliatory violence. Only when individuals were deeply involved in translating growth cognitions to growth actions in our research on the forced disengagement of settlers from Gaza did we find positive benefit in posttraumatic growth. Findings are considered within the framework of a new formulation of action-focused growth.

DOI:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2007.00292.x (Full Text)

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