Does trauma type relate to posttraumatic growth after war? A pilot study of young Iraqi war survivors living in Turkey

KILIÇ C., Magruder K. M., Koryurek M. M.

TRANSCULTURAL PSYCHIATRY, vol.53, no.1, pp.110-123, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1363461515612963
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.110-123
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Positive personal gain after adverse life events and traumas is known as posttraumatic growth (PTG). Several factors are suggested to promote PTG after stressful events, including type of trauma, in addition to younger age and female gender. Although conflicting findings exist, studies suggest that there may be less growth associated with personal traumas (i.e., physical or sexual assault, accidents) and more growth associated with shared traumas (i.e., disasters, loss). We examined whether certain types of war-related traumas are associated with more PTG in a sample of 203 Iraqi students living in Turkey who had experienced severe war-related traumatic events. They were assessed in group sessions, using a self-report battery that included the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory and War Trauma Questionnaire. War experiences were categorized into three types of trauma: trauma to self, trauma to loved ones, and adversity. Growth was measured by the Turkish version of the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory. Adversity-type events positively predicted growth, whereas trauma to self predicted growth negatively. Males and females showed a different pattern of relationship with growth. Correlations of growth with younger age and adversity observed in females were not seen in males. Our results show that different trauma types may lead to differing levels of growth, and this difference may be more pronounced when gender is taken into account.