Posttraumatic growth among people living with HIV: what we do not know yet?
We believe that it is certainly worth exploring the phenomenon of PTG further. It is associated with greater satisfaction with life, greater emotional well-being of HIV-infected people, as well as a higher CD4 lymphocyte count, adherence to medical recommendations, lower levels of depression and less frequent abuse of psychoactive substances, and a lower degree of perceived social stigma.
However, it is still unknown what is the cause and what is the effect here. The PTG measurement itself also raises doubts, since it asks people about positive changes in their lives by requesting them to recall what lives were like previously, before the infection occurred.
The past may in fact be idealised or belittled as a result of knowing the diagnosis. There is also a lack of convincing data indicating to what extent PTG is only a relatively short-term, mainly defensive reaction to difficulties (“illusions that allow you to live”), and to what extent it is actually a deep and lasting psychological transformation. Likewise, an intriguing result of some studies in this context is that PTG is more frequently reported by people who were previously dissatisfied with their own life. Therefore, we are waiting for the next research that will bring us closer to a better understanding of PTG.
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