Date of Award

2008

Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Fuschia Sirois

Keywords

Health and environmental sciences, Psychology, Arthritis, Chronic illness, Inflammatory bowel disease, Posttraumatic growth

Rights

info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

Despite the growing interest in the development of personal growth following a health-related adversity such as the diagnosis of a chronic illness, there has been little research investigating the factors that may give rise to personal growth. The objective of the present study was to explore the experience of posttraumatic growth and to identify the factors associated with posttraumatic growth among individuals with arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) at two time points spaced six months apart. Using Schaefer and Moos' (1992) model as a theoretical framework, the association of positive outlook, spirituality, social support, stressors, cognitive appraisal variables, and coping strategies was examined among 214 individuals diagnosed with arthritis and 377 individuals diagnosed with IBD. Two structural equation models were estimated for each illness group. For the IBD group, the results showed that positive outlook, stressors, and social support each had an indirect effect on posttraumatic growth, mediated through symptom control beliefs, benefit-finding, and adaptive coping strategies. For the arthritis group, the results showed that positive outlook and stressors had an indirect effect on posttraumatic growth, mediated though benefit-finding and adaptive coping strategies, whereas social support had an indirect effect on posttraumatic growth, mediated through symptom control beliefs and adaptive coping. Importantly, this study highlights the relative roles of positive outlook, stressors, social support, cognitive appraisal variables and coping strategies that may facilitate the experience of posttraumatic growth among individuals facing a non-life threatening chronic illness.

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