Experiencing positive change as a result of dealing with HIV infection. Posttraumatic growth among people infected with HIV
Project duration: 2016 - 2018
The vast majority of research results indicate that traumatic events lead to negative changes in the mental functioning of people experiencing them. The most common effect of trauma is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The negative consequences of trauma are not only intuitively understandable, but also very well described in the scientific literature. However, researchers have relatively recently shifted their attention from the intuitively obvious negative consequences of trauma to the paradoxically positive results of traumatic experiences, which are described by the concept of posttraumatic growth (PTG).
Posttraumatic growth is a set of positive changes in interpersonal relations, in self-perception and in the adopted philosophy of life, manifested by greater appreciation of life and openness to spiritual matters, which may arise in people as a result of their attempts to cope with the consequences of traumatic or highly stressful life events.
Our project focused on posttraumatic growth in a specific type of trauma, that is dealing with a potentially life-threatening somatic disease on the example of HIV-infected patients. In particular, we looked for psychological and social factors that could reinforce this positive phenomenon among people infected with HIV. The variables we studied included:
- mental resilience as a personality trait;
- coping with stress;
- and social support;
We also analysed whether the posttraumatic growth among people infected with HIV translated into better psychological well-being of these patients in the long-term perspective.
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