Making Sense of Loss, Perceiving Benefits, and Posttraumatic Growth

Christopher G. Davis and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology

Second edition

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780195187243
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199940615 | DOI:
 Making Sense of Loss, Perceiving Benefits, and Posttraumatic Growth

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Reports of personal growth following adversity are quite common, and a general model of the process has been proposed. However, very little research has been offered in support of the process model. We review studies that suggest that more than one process may be operating and propose that benefits should be distinguished from growth. Whereas benefits tend to be incidental and transient, personal growth emerges from a process of renegotiating goals and priorities and involves disengaging from or revising former core projects, activities, and strivings and initiating new ones that are intrinsically meaningful.

Keywords: benefits; loss; meaning; posttraumatic growth

Article.  6481 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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