Identifier

etd-07022015-160056

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Numerous studies have documented the negative psychological outcomes in individuals who experienced Hurricane Katrina. However, little is known about the long-term adjustment of hurricane-exposed individuals, especially with regard to positive outcomes, in the years after the storm. Specifically, few studies have measured posttraumatic growth (PTG), which refers to positive psychological change achieved by individuals who struggled with a traumatic experience. In their model of PTG, Tedeschi and Calhoun theorize that a certain level of trauma-related psychological distress and disruption is necessary for PTG to develop. The current study attempted to test the PTG model with a longitudinal path analysis of hurricane-exposed women. Results indicated that posttraumatic stress predicted general emotional distress at two distinct times. However, posttraumatic stress levels did not decrease with time as expected. PTG accounted for very little in the model. Posttraumatic stress symptoms did not predict future PTG, and PTG did not result in reduced levels of posttraumatic stress or emotional distress. Several possible explanations for these surprising results, including the lack of anticipated recovery, are discussed.

Date

2014

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kelley, Mary Lou

Included in

Psychology Commons

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