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A theory on reports of constructive (real) and illusory posttraumatic growth

Boerner, Michaela; Joseph, Stephen; Murphy, David

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Michaela Boerner

Professor of Psychology and Education


It has been suggested that self-reported posttraumatic growth could sometimes be considered as a way for people to protect themselves from the distress of trauma. In this case, reports of posttraumatic growth could be illusory. We suggest a theory on self-reported constructive (real) posttraumatic growth and illusory posttraumatic growth by using Rogers’s (1959) theory and the work by Vaillant (1995). Through this theoretical framework we attempt to explain when reports of posttraumatic growth are likely to be constructive and real and when such reports are likely to represent aspects of illusions. We will also consider the implications for research practice.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 2, 2017
Online Publication Date Jul 9, 2017
Deposit Date Jun 20, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jul 9, 2017
Journal Journal of Humanistic Psychology
Print ISSN 0022-1678
Electronic ISSN 1552-650X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords trauma, posttraumatic growth, illusions, defensiveness, well-being, person centered, growth
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information DOI not working 12/07/2017


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