Posttraumatic Growth in the Aftermath of Trauma: A Literature Review About Related Factors and Application Contexts

Catarina Ramos, Isabel Leal


Aim: In the face of one traumatic event, individuals may perceive, along with the inherent negative responses, a number of positive changes, which reveal posttraumatic growth. This concept has increased its expression in literature over the years, and it has been recognized that people exposed to highly traumatic events, such as bereavement, war combat, disasters, disease or other stressful or life-threatening events, may perceive positive changes from the struggling with those events. Thus, this literature review aims at exploring the definition of posttraumatic growth, associated factors and application contexts. Method and Results: Electronic databases were used to search the relevant literature. Based on the analysis of empirical data, were found several studies that demonstrated a range of factors, such as distress, personality characteristics, self-disclosure, coping, social support, environmental characteristics, assumptive world, rumination, spirituality and optimism, that have contributed to the development of posttraumatic growth; however, some relationships remain inconclusive. Conclusion: Further research is required, to clarify the genesis and the development of posttraumatic growth, also, to extend the posttraumatic growth studies in health context, encompassing the patient as well as family and social network.


posttraumatic growth; benefit finding; psychological trauma; literature review