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“I get knocked down, but I get up again” – A qualitative exploration of posttraumatic growth after multiple traumas

Brooks, Matt ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5469-7769, Graham-Kevan, Nicola, Robinson, Sarita and Lowe, Michelle (2021) “I get knocked down, but I get up again” – A qualitative exploration of posttraumatic growth after multiple traumas. Traumatology, 27 (3). pp. 274-284. ISSN 1085-9373

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Abstract

Theories of positive change following traumatic events, known as posttraumatic growth (PTG), posit that growth occurs in pre-determined domains. However, the domains in which growth occurs have largely been suggested from the results of studies which have looked at isolated traumatic events. The current paper has two aims: first, to explore whether looking for growth only in pre-determined domains limits opportunities to identify other changes that may occur; and second, to describe growth processes and outcomes in survivors of multiple, rather than single, traumatic events. Twenty-six semi-structured interviews analyzed with thematic analysis revealed two themes (outcomes of trauma and processing trauma) and seven subthemes (managing subsequent stressors, identity changes, co-existing positive and negative changes, trauma-related thoughts, control perceptions, spiritual challenges and social support and disclosure). Of these themes, the ability to handle subsequent stressors, identity changes and control perceptions, have not been previously reported in qualitative studies. More flexible conceptualizations of growth are needed to understand the nuances of positive change among survivors of multiple trauma types.

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