Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Reassembling a shattered life: A study of posttraumatic growth in displaced Cambodian community leaders
by Uy, K. Kara, Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2014, 123; 3639883
Abstract (Summary)

Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) refers to positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with grievous life circumstances that often coexist with significant psychological distress (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996). PTG makes clear that persons experiencing this phenomenon have grown beyond their previous level of psychological functioning. PTG is recognized in four domains of change, including perception of self, relationships with others, philosophy of life, and spiritual transformations (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996). The present study explored the concept of PTG and transformation among twelve Cambodian community leaders who are survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide. Based on a phenomenological qualitative paradigm, this study utilized the PTG model to explore coping, meaning making, and positive growth as both a process and outcome. Four core themes emerged for the process of posttraumatic growth: (a) separation, loss, enslavement and other dehumanizing experiences; (b) distress and psychological responses to trauma; (c) methods of coping used to manage debilitating distress; and (d) process of healing and meaning making. Five core themes emerged for the outcome of posttraumatic growth: (a) gratitude and greater appreciation of life; (b) new priorities and goals; (c) importance of family and interpersonal relationships; (d) increased personal strength; and (e) effective leadership. Overall, principal findings in this study highlighted the importance of self-disclosure, hard work, hope, optimism, and education as a foundation to recovery and growth, as well as community activism and the continued pursuit to fulfill their survivor's mission (Herman, 1992). These factors greatly supported participants in their process of PTG and gave them profound life purpose and meaning. Theoretical, societal, and clinical implications of findings as well as future directions are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Okubo, Yuki
Commitee: Cerezo, Alison, Wong, Jorge
School: Alliant International University
Department: San Francisco, CSPP
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian Studies, Social psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Adversarial growth, Cambodia, Cambodian community leaders, Positive psychology, Posttraumatic growth, Trauma
Publication Number: 3639883
ISBN: 9781321247848
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