Posttraumatic Growth in Psychosis: Challenges to the Assumptive World

Yael Mazor, Marc Gelkopf, David Roe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Research has shown high rates of exposure to trauma among people with serious mental illness (SMI). In addition, studies suggest that psychosis and mental illness-related experiences can be extremely traumatic and may lead to significant symptomatology. Indeed, overwhelming traumatic experiences may shatter people's core beliefs about themselves, the world, and others. However, coping with adversity may also foster a unique outcome; namely posttraumatic growth (PTG). The experience of PTG is contingent on people's ability to reexamine their core beliefs after trauma. Little is known about whether and how such core-belief reexamination is related to PTG among people with SMI and psychosis, specifically people who experience positive, negative, and general psychopathological symptoms (PANSS). Method: For the purpose of this study, 121 participants were recruited from community mental health rehabilitation centers and administered trauma- and psychiatry-oriented questionnaires. Results: In addition to high levels of traumatic exposure, we observed that people with SMI can experience PTG, which is mediated by reexamination of core beliefs, contingent on low levels of illness-related psychopathological symptoms. Conclusion: The ability to challenge one's world assumptions and reestablish a functional set of assumptions is critical to the development of PTG. In light of the high levels of posttraumatic comorbidity found in this population, psychiatric facilities should place greater emphasis on treating the traumatic aspects of SMI and on teaching and practicing effective strategies to reevaluate life after trauma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Core beliefs
  • Positive/negative symptoms
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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