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Posttraumatic growth and religion

By Annick Shaw


Chapter one reviews the published literature and studies that reported a link between religion, spirituality, and posttraumatic growth (PTG). A review of eleven key studies, in context, produced three main findings. First that religion and spirituality are usually beneficial to people dealing with the aftermath of trauma. Second, that traumatic experiences often lead to a deepening of religion and spirituality. Third, that positive religious coping, religious openness, readiness to face existential questions, religious participation, and intrinsic religousness are typically associated with posttraumatic growth. Important directions for future research are suggested that centre on the need for more fine-grained analysis of religion and spirituality variables, together with longitudinal designs,t hat allow more detailed exploration of the links between religion, spirituality, and posttraurnaticg rowth.\ud Chapter two explored the component structure of the Maltby & Day (1998) amended version of the quest orientation scale. The scale was administered to 286 Christians and churchgoers in the UK. It was then subjected to a principal components analysis followed by oblimin rotation, Analysis revealed a three factor model consistent with that proposed by Maltby& Day (1998 )of complexity, doubt and tentativeness. \ud Chapter three examines relationships between three religious orientations and two posttraumatic growth variables: positive changes in outlook and posttraumatic growth. Other psychosocial variables were included in the analyses. Two hundred and ninety one UK adults returned a questionnaire battery of standardised self-report measures. Firstly, correlational statistics identified all significant relationships between variables. Secondly, multiple regression analyses of just the highly significant correlated variables found that two aspects of religious orientation were important in achieving PTG. Firstly, Intrinsic religion (having a personal faith) was highly associated with the ability to create positive changes in outlook following trauma and to enjoy new possibilitiesin life. Secondly, the 'extrinsic personal' religion (using religion as a source of comfort) was highly associated with the overall capacity to develop PTG to two of the PTG subscales: personal strength and spiritual change. Extrinsic personal religion is a variable that has not received any attention in the PTG literature to date. A number of methodological weaknesses are discussed. Results are discussed within the context of the current climate of religious coping research and recommendations for future research are made.\ud Finally, chapter four provides a review of the research process including insights into my own personal faith along with methodological considerations for similar future researc

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