Positive Outcomes Following Bereavement: Paths to Posttraumatic Growth

January 1, 2010
Psychologica Belgica

Recent theory and research have drawn attention to the need to better understand the positive changes, termed posttraumatic growth, that often occur in bereaved individuals; even as negative emotions related to grief persist. We describe five dimensions of posttraumatic growth and present a model for understanding how the loss of a close other can eventually lead to a recognition of important positive personal changes. Loss, especially unexpected loss, disrupts an individual’s beliefs about the world and initiates a process of rebuilding an understanding. During this process, many people come to realize their own strengths, appreciate the impact of their relationships, and have new spiritual insights. A strategy for facilitating growth during clinical work also is described.

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