Posttraumatic growth in children and youth: Clinical implications of an emerging research literature

Kilmer, R. P., Gil-Rivas, V., Griese, B. M., Hardy, S., Hafstad, G. S., & Alisic, E. (in press). Posttraumatic growth in children and youth: Clinical implications of an emerging research literature. American Journal of Orthopsyciatry.

Posttraumatic growth (PTG), positive change resulting from the struggle with trauma, has garnered significant attention in the literature on adults. Recently, the research base has begun to extend downward, and this literature indicates that youth also evidence PTG-like changes.

Researchers have sought to assess the construct, examine its correlates, and understand the factors that contribute to PTG in youth. Drawing from this work, this article considers clinical implications for youth. After briefly describing the PTG construct, its hypothesized process, and its distinction from resilience, the article focuses on key themes in the literature and, with those findings as backdrop, ways in which professionals can facilitate growth in youth who have experienced trauma. This discussion situates PTG within the broader trauma literature and includes specific applications used to date as well as the role of cultural factors. Future directions–salient to practitioners and researchers alike–are considered.