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What Are the Factors That Influence the Post-Traumatic Growth Which Follows After a Relationship Breakup

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Literature Review

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Literature Review

Research Question Description

The research question for this literature review was: what are the factors that influence the post-traumatic growth which follows after a relationship breakup. More often we undergo experiences in life that includes various encounters thereby changing our lives completely. After these experiences, one may undergo a change that brings about grief or positive outcomes such as the post traumatic growth.  The most common experience that most of the groups of people undergo is a relationship breakup and the experience is normally traumatic. A change or a loss in the life of a person often brings about different experiences among different people, and the eventual outcome after the grief period is often determined with how well that particular person is able to handle the grief. Most of the research that has been conducted in this area tends to majorly focus on negative effects that accompany this stress or trauma, but in the recent times, there has been an increase in studies that focus on positive outcomes after facing stress. Most importantly, the recent studies haven’t at all detracted from all the grief experienced after these changes, especially the breakup of a relationship to be precise but they have been able to bring out the factors which influence this post-traumatic growth.

The Search Strategy

The search strategy for this literature review was structured upon organisation of various terms and other tools to be used in the search through the relevant databases. The databases such as PsycInfo and ProQuest were searched to find data for the review.  Given the fact that different databases often work in much different ways from each other, a different search strategy for each of the databases that were used in structuring the literature review was employed at all times through tailoring. The keywords were then searched, especially the MESH terms that included traumatic, psychology, etc. other words such as relationship breakups were identified and searched. First, the search terms such as “psychology” and “traumatic” were appropriately identified judging from the research question of focus and the thesaurus used so as to identify the synonyms of these terms. For instance, the search of the term “moral elevation” on PsycInfo gave around 96 results for this topic. The concepts about the question were then searched from the Google engine and skim reading done through some results of the various articles, while listing the words or phrases that are attached to each concept. Citation searching was also used by looking for other relevant articles that had citations of the previously identified and important text. The cited references were very useful in complementing the database search.


Some of the restrictions by various databases was about accessibility, subscription fees and even license agreements by the online libraries that was legally binding the users of its material. These agreements deed identify those who are allowed to use these databases and for which purpose with some prohibitions or copyright restrictions.

A Table of Key Papers

Aldwin, C. M. (2007). Stress, coping, and development: An integrative approach (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

The text examines three sections of people from a community so as to determine if the stressful episodes in them form the context of their development after overcoming it up to their adulthood. First, 81.9% of the taken sample (about 845 older people) used prior experiences to cope with their problems. Secondly, the same findings are replicated in another sample of about 102 men together with women that were aged between 24 up to 84 years. The third sample replicated the same findings such as those from the previous two samples, having a total of 941 men together with women of ages 23 up to 62.

Aldwin, C. M., & Levenson, M. R. (2004). Posttraumatic growth: A developmental perspective. Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 19-22.

The authors of this article reorganize their theoretical perspective and their empirical work to make an identification of five domains into which post-traumatic growth has to be classified under. They also give a commentary that focuses upon the developmental issues after traumas or other events that change lives.

Allemand, M., Gomez, V., & Jackson, J. J. (2010). Personality trait development in midlife: exploring the impact of psychological turning points. European Journal of Ageing, 7(3), 147-155.

The study examines the long-term personality and traits in development for the midlife after trauma, thereby exploring the relevant impacts it brings on oneself through psychology. The self-defined turning points of psychological bring out the reflection of major changes which occur in people hence their high stability towards life. The study has respect to the ranking orders by using various mean-levels to categorize personality traits or even differences in the reliable individual after this change. The implies that even by having a relative stability in the personality traits, the sample in overall or some of the individuals will definitely show the systematic deviations in the sample mean-levels.

Almedom, A. (2005). Resilience, hardiness, sense of coherence, and posttraumatic growth: All paths leading to "light at the end of the tunnel"? Journal of Loss and Trauma, 10(3), 253-265.

The study underpins its research on two major questions. One of the questions is about the behavioral or social determinants for every individualistic trait thereby looking at their own capacity to be able to rebound through such a crisis. Another question is all about evidence that is technically based or related on different concepts for the stress experienced. The findings in the study suggest using the theory to operationalize or coherence to construct an inclusive resilience or even hardiness.

Anderson, W.P., Jr., & Lopez-Baez, S. I. (2008). Measuring growth with the posttraumatic growth inventory. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 40, 215-227.

The study shows how post-traumatic growth is used to be able to measure people’s growth using the students from the university (347 in number to be precise). The results have been compared to those from the trauma studies thereby indicating the general measure about their growth. These results show a very minimal relationship existing between the growths to the trauma faced.

Armeli, S., Gunthert, K. C., & Cohen, L. H. (2001). Stressor appraisals, coping, and post-event outcomes: The dimensionality and antecedents of stress-related growth. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 20(3), 366-395.

The study highlights on how to cope up with the antecedents after the stress-related or trauma events and how to grow afterwards. The survey for the study encompassed a total of 447 people alumni from the university and also 472students from the college, by asking them about what event was most stressful to them for the previous two years.

Biswas-Diener, R. (2009). Personal coaching as a positive intervention. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 544-553.

The article says that personal coaching has been elaborated on a basis that is relatively new since it is aimed towards helping the functioning individuals in achieving a set of goals. This will eventually help those who have gone through trauma to overcome obstacles thereby maintaining their motivation.

Boals, A., Steward, J., & Schuettler, D. (2010). Advancing our understanding of posttraumatic growth by considering event centrality. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 15(6), 518-533.

The study says that various past researches looking at the post-traumatic growth have always lacked consistency. It also hypothesized the relationships that exist between this growth and the other variables that are psychological hence helping the relationship become more consistent.

Bonanno, G. A. (2005). Clarifying and extending the construct of adult resilience. American Psychologist, 60, 265-267.

The author of this article responds to various comments that have been made within the issue, and also gives response in line to their original article that was about loss, the trauma that comes with it, and the human resilience about this trauma. The author also notes how they clearly focused on three points in their original article, including the resilience in adults while recovering from a trauma.

Calhoun, L. G. & Tedeschi, R. G. (2004) The foundations of posttraumatic growth: New considerations, Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 93-102.

The authors of this work focused on responding to the various comments from their own formulated model which helps to deal with the post-traumatic growth. They also make a consideration the validity for the reports that have been captured about post-traumatic growth.

Clay, R., Knibbs, J., & Joseph, S. (2009). Measurement of posttraumatic growth in young people: A review. Clinical Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 14(3), 411-422.

The clear potential of bringing about a positive psychological change and perspective of this growth after trauma has been focused upon by the study, thereby making the research to be very clinical and easily recognizable. The article talks of various psychometric instruments that can be applied in order to achieve an informed positive psychological change after trauma.  It goes ahead to conclude by saying that there are several measures which can be used to make an assessment in the victims so as to gauge this post-traumatic growth.

Ford, J. D., Tennen, H., & Albert, D. (2008). A contrarian view of growth following adversity: Positive psychological perspectives on posttraumatic stress. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

The text observes the idea about the post-traumatic growth and how it has the potential to bring a shift for various victims affected by traumatic stress. It also gives a review of evidence which suggests how growth has been able to come by in this aftermath after a psychological trauma.

Jaffe, D. T. (1985). Self-renewal: Personal transformation following extreme trauma. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(4), 99-124.

The article goes ahead to present a certain model for the whole process of the aspect of self-renewal, thereby bringing a creative restructuring as a whole. The article gives several examples about processes which brings out the self-renewal process, together with self-definition. It goes ahead to make a conclusion by suggesting the importance of this very same self-renewal process towards the social implications and even beyond the personal level in a broader perspective.

Linley, P. A. (2003). Positive adaptation to trauma: Wisdom as both process and outcome. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16(6), 601-610.

The study talks of the positive adaptation towards the psychological trauma faced by human beings in general and the outcomes that are associated to the traumatic adaptation. It also reflects on its limitations by using a framework or directions from the future studies or research.

Pals, J. L., & McAdams, D. P. (2004). The transformed self: A narrative understanding of posttraumatic growth. Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 65-69.

The study makes an analysis of the growth that comes after post-traumatic by relying mainly upon the self-report effective questionnaires which asked people about the rate of this growth they experienced after trauma. The analysis from the study focuses on a narrative of various accounts which may constitute up post-traumatic growth.

Peterson, C., Park, N., Pole, N., D'Andrea, W., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2008). Strengths of character and posttraumatic growth. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 21(2), 214-217.

It relates the strengths by a character to its growth after facing a trauma. It is a retrospective study that is web-based. It also talks about the positive things that are there in a number of the potentially traumatic experiences.



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