Construct validation of the trauma-stren conversion : age, religiosity, mental health, and self-esteem

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Gatten, Shauna L.
Perkins, David V.
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Thesis (M.A.)
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Up to this point much of what has been learned regarding individuals' stress responses has been derived from the study of individuals who have suffered from psychopathology or physical illness. Recent research, however, has demonstrated a shift in focus toward individuals who effectively cope with stressful experiences. For example, previous research has identified a type of "conversion" process whereby an initially traumatic event is evaluated and later recognized to have positive effects through its assimilation into a new cognitive framework emphasizing psychological growth and adaptation. The present study investigated the conversion phenomenon, examining the relationship between older and younger subjects' perceptions of significant events and their current level of mental health, self-esteem and religious orientation. Results found conversion to be related to religiosity but not to age, self-esteem or transient mental health status. The findings are discussed and implications for future research are identified.