Post-Traumatic Growth in Adults Bereaved by Suicide

June 21, 2019
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

A recent study examined post-traumatic growth (i.e., positive psychological change resulting from struggle with difficult life circumstances) among adult suicide loss survivors. It found that a significant predictor of post-traumatic growth was problem-focused coping, such as seeking information on suicide, reaching out to others for support, and engaging in self-care.

Researchers recruited 307 adults bereaved by suicide to participate in an online survey. Participants shared their demographic information, perceived closeness to the person who died, personality characteristics, help-seeking attitudes, perceived social support, coping strategies, and experience of post-traumatic growth. Important predictors of post-traumatic growth were time since loss, perceived closeness to the person who died, help-seeking attitudes, perceived social support, and problem-focused coping. The positive association between problem-focused coping and post-traumatic growth remained significant regardless of time since loss.

A positive association between problem-focused coping and post-traumatic growth suggests clinical interventions that encourage this coping style may be helpful for suicide-bereaved adults throughout their grieving process.

Drapeau, C. W., Lockman, J. D., Moore, M. M., & Cerel, J. (2019). Predictors of post-traumatic growth in adults bereaved by suicide. Crisis, 40(3), 196–202.

Populations:  Survivors of Suicide Loss
Strategies:  Life Skills and Resilience, Connectedness