Understanding perceptions of benefit following adversity: How do distinct assessments of growth relate to coping and adjustment to stressful events?

Betina R. Yanez, Anette L. Stanton, Michael A. Hoyt, Howard Tennen, Suzanne Lechner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on stress-related growth typically relies on individuals' retrospective perceptions of growth, not indications of change in personal attributes over time (i.e., measured growth). This longitudinal study sought to: (1) examine the correspondence of perceived and measured growth, (2) elucidate the relations of these forms of growth, coping strategies, and change in adjustment in undergraduates (N = 162), and (3) examine whether current measurement approaches for selfperceived growth adequately capture the theoretical construct of psychological growth. Participants were undergraduates assessed at study entry and at 6 weeks. Perceptions of stress-related growth were not correlated with measured growth. In a path model, measured growth predicted increased positive mood and decreased distress. Perceived growth predicted increased positive mood, mediated by approach-oriented coping, as well as increased distress, partially mediated by coping through denial. These findings have implications for the measurement of stress-related growth and highlight the distinction between perceived and measured growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-721
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume30
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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