For Experts

  • Currently not a diagnosis in the DSM or ICD.
  • Refers to positive personal changes that may result from an individual working to cope with the psychological consequences of exposure to trauma or a potentially psychologically traumatic event.
  • Major dimensions of posttraumatic growth include: enhancement of relationships (e.g., increases in empathy, humility, and altruism); changes in self-perception (e.g., of personal resiliency, strength; increased acceptance of vulnerability and limitations); changes in life philosophy (e.g., re-evaluating what’s important); and spiritual or existential change (Tedeschi, Park & Calhoun, 1998; Tedeschi, Calhoun, & Groleau, 2015).
  • Posttraumatic growth is not merely bouncing back to pre-trauma levels of functioning, but positive growth beyond pre-trauma levels of functioning. 
  • Posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic stress can occur within the same person at the same time.

For General Public

  • Currently not a diagnosis in the DSM or ICD manuals.
  • Generally refers to the positive personal changes that may result from an individual’s struggle to manage the consequences of being exposed to one or more potentially psychologically traumatic events.
  • The positive personal changes may include such things as a new appreciation for life and future possibilities, a newfound sense of personal strength, improved relationships with others (e.g., a new focus on helping others), and spiritual or existential change.
  • Posttraumatic growth is not merely bouncing back to pre-trauma levels of functioning, but positive growth beyond pre-trauma levels of functioning.

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