Childhood Trauma

Exploring Posttraumatic Growth in Japanese Youth

January 1, 2012
Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy

Despite a growing body of literature examining posttraumatic growth (PTG; positive change resulting from the struggle with trauma) in adult populations from various cultures, the emerging research base involving youth includes few studies exploring the construct in youth from Eastern cultures. This study examined PTG and perceived growth in the absence of trauma among Japanese youth. A total of 408 youth (215 boys, 193 girls), with a mean age of 13.38 years (SD = .93), from one public junior high school in the suburbs of Tokyo were recruited. They reported whether they had experienced any trauma in the past year and completed measures assessing psychological growth using the Revised Posttraumatic Growth Inventory for Children, subjective severity, and cognitive processing using the adapted Rumination Scale. Results using one-way ANOVA showed that greater growth was reported by those who experienced trauma, and the objective severity of the adversity was reliably related to perceived growth. Chi-square tests revealed that those who did not experience adversity had more difficulty identifying growth. These results suggest that the youth-reported growth does not simply reflect normative maturation. Multiple regression analysis, using participants who reported at least one traumatic event, indicated that deliberate cognitive processing appears to play an important role in PTG. Cultural and developmental aspects of these findings, as well as implications for research and applied work are discussed.

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