Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 19th 2017 Contents A24 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Study sheds light on how vets respond to trauma
A new study of military veterans who went
through trauma finds that those veterans who
have related post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) are also more likely to experience
"post-traumatic growth"---such as an in-
creased appreciation of life, awareness of new
possibilities and enhanced inner strength.
"There's been a lot of attention paid to PTSD in
our military population, but very little research on
post-traumatic growth," says Sarah Desmarais, an
associate professor of psychology at North Car-
olina State University in the USA and author of a
paper on the new study.
"But these findings are important, because they
show that the way veterans respond to trauma is
not a zero-sum game."
"Some Department of Defense (DoD) training
implies that people are either resilient or they're
not, but we found that people can struggle with
PTSD and experience emotional growth due to
traumatic events," says Jessica Morgan, PhD can-
didate at NC State and principal investigator on
"In addition, growth can occur very quickly,
or it can be a process that unfolds over years. In
other words, while recovering from trauma can be
a painful and difficult ordeal, veterans and their
families can have hope, and the DoD should pay
attention to this field of study," she said.
For this study, researchers conducted a survey of
197 veterans from all branches of the military. Ap-
proximately half of the study participants served
in the US Army, 72 per cent were active duty, and
69.4 per cent were male.
Study participants reported on a traumatic event
that had occurred within the previous three years
and were asked a series of questions designed to
measure post-traumatic growth. Growth was
measured on a scale from zero to 105.
The researchers found that study partici-
pants fell into four groups with respect to their
The short-term moderate group, including
33.7 per cent of participants, had post-traumatic
growth scores typically between 40 and 60 and
experienced that growth within about six months
of the traumatic event.
The long-term moderate group made up 18.7 per
cent of participants, and reported similar levels
of post-traumatic growth, but more than a year
after the traumatic event.
The high-growth group, 20.7 per cent of par-
ticipants, had scores typically between 70 and
105---and this growth could take anywhere from
a few months to several years.
The last group, made up of 26.9 per cent of
participants, experienced limited post-traumatic
War veterans who have related post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) are also more likely to experience
The researchers found that members
of each group shared common charac-
For example, the group that expe-
rienced the greatest post-traumatic
growth was made up of participants who
were the most likely to report that their
trauma fundamentally challenged the
way they viewed the world.
They also spent the most time thinking
about their traumatic event and had the
highest rate of PTSD.
Those who experienced moderate
growth very quickly had similar charac-
teristics, placing second in all three cat-
egories: the extent to which the trauma
challenged their worldview, the amount
of time spent thinking about the trauma,
and the rate of PTSD.
At the other end of the spectrum, those
who experienced limited post-traumatic
growth ranked last in all three categories.
"One of the key points here is that there
can be real benefit from having military
veterans think about their traumatic
experiences," Desmarais says. "While
it may be painful in the short term, it
can contribute to their well-being in the
"These findings also demonstrate
that we need to do more research into
post-traumatic growth, working with
the veteran community," Desmarais adds.
"The fact that we still know so little
about post-traumatic growth, and that
much of the existing work was not done
with members of the military, is a sig-
(Source: North Carolina State University)
Links Archive April 18th 2017 April 20th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page