Meaning and Resilience as Predictors of Posttraumatic Growth Among College Students

Blackwell, Meredith (2016) Meaning and Resilience as Predictors of Posttraumatic Growth Among College Students. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Stefan Schulenberg from Psychology, The University of Mississippi.

Blackwell Thesis .pdf

Download (397kB) | Preview


Meaning in life is related to such outcomes as resilience and the potential to experience posttraumatic growth among populations that have experienced a traumatic event. However, the literature is conflicted on the relationship between resilience and posttraumatic growth. The goal of this study is to further evaluate the relationship between meaning, resilience, and posttraumatic growth among a college student sample. Six-hundred and twelve participants, ages 18-26, completed self-report measures about their experience with potentially traumatic events (Life Events Checklist), their perceived purpose in life (Purpose in Life test – Short Form), resilience (Brief Resilience Scale), and posttraumatic growth (Posttraumatic Growth Inventory – Short Form). After data cleaning, five-hundred and thirteen participants indicated experiencing at least one potentially traumatic event. Using the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist – Civilian form (PCL-C), two subsamples of 99 and 414 participants who scored above and below the diagnostic threshold for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), respectively, were used to calculate additional results. The hypotheses examined included the following: 1) meaning and resilience scores would be positively correlated; 2) meaning scores would be predictive of posttraumatic growth; 3) meaning would be a stronger predictor of posttraumatic growth scores than resilience; and 4) posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic stress scores would be positively correlated. The results supported these hypotheses. Meaning and resilience had a medium positive correlation (r = .354, p < .001) in the total sample, with similar scores in both subsamples. In the overall sample (F(1, 512) = 9.624, p < .01, R2 = .018) and with individuals scoring below the diagnostic threshold for PTSD (F(1, 413) = 3.586, p = .059, R2 = .007), meaning played a small, significant role in predicting posttraumatic growth. Though in the portion of the sample that exceeded the diagnostic threshold for PTSD, that role was much larger (F(1, 99) = 19.528, p < .001, R2 = .165). Resilience had a slightly negative relationship with posttraumatic growth (r = -.08, p < .035), but in the overall sample resilience enhanced the effect of meaning on posttraumatic growth (F(2, 511) = 9.326, p < .001, R2 = .035), nearly doubling it. Below the cutoff meaning was not significantly predictive of posttraumatic growth (F(1, 413) = 3.568, p = .059, R2 = .007) and resilience had a slightly positive relationship (F(1, 98) = 3.878, p < .05, R2 = .007) and made up .7% of the predictive value, but measured with resilience this increased to 1.9% (F(2, 511) = 5.012, p < .01, R2 = .019) Above the cutoff meaning and resilience measured together had the same result of 16.5% of the predictive value, which is identical to meaning measured independently (F(2, 98) = 19.528, p < .001, R2 = .165). Additionally, in the total sample there was a small and significant correlation between posttraumatic stress and posttraumatic growth (r = .163, p < .001), but this became insignificant among the sample which exceeded the diagnostic threshold for PTSD on the PCL-C (r = .006, p = .954). The results of this study suggest that meaning is related to both resilience and posttraumatic growth, and should be further studied to understand the role it may play in enhancing both. Implications of the study and future research directions are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Blackwell, Meredith
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A. Psychology
Thesis Advisor: Stefan Schulenberg
Thesis Advisor's Department: Psychology
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Depositing User: Miss Meredith Blackwell
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 15:26
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2016 15:26

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item