Topic: Disasters, terror and stress management

Posttraumatic growth, posttraumatic stress and psychological adjustment in the aftermath of the 2011 Oslo bombing attack

Blix, I., Hansen, M., Birkeland, M. S., Nissen, A., & Heir, T. (2013). Posttraumatic growth, posttraumatic stress and psychological adjustment in the aftermath of the 2011 Oslo bombing attack. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 11:160. doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-160

Experiencing potentially traumatic events is associated with psychological distress. However, some survivors also experience positive personal and psychological changes in the aftermath of trauma.

Methods
The present study investigated perceived posttraumatic growth in 197 ministerial employees who were present at work during the 2011 Oslo bombing attack. The relationships between trauma-exposure, peritraumatic reactions and posttraumatic growth were studied. Moreover, the adaptive significance of posttraumatic growth was addressed.

Results
The results showed that higher levels of trauma-exposure and immediate reactions were significantly related to perceived posttraumatic growth. No support for an adaptive significance of posttraumatic growth was found. On the contrary, posttraumatic growth was associated with higher symptom levels of posttraumatic stress. After adjusting for posttraumatic stress symptoms no association was found between perceived growth and work and social adjustment. However, perceived growth was associated with higher levels of life satisfaction.

Conclusion
The present results are in line with previous findings indicating that perceived growth may be unrelated to psychological adjustment, and suggest that the concept and significance of posttraumatic growth should be interpreted with caution.

Keywords
Posttraumatic growth Posttraumatic stress PTSD Adjustment Life satisfaction

The Researchers