Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology, Clinical-Community

Date of Defense

7-31-2008

Graduate Advisor

Ann M. Steffen, Ph.D.

Co-Advisor

Samuel J. Marwit, Ph.D.

Committee

John Chibnall, Ph.D.

Laurie Greco, Ph.D.

Abstract

The current study tests models of personal growth in bereaved individuals (Hogan & Schmidt, 2002; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004) by examining the relationships between types of social support and growth following bereavement, as well as by assessing whether deliberate/reflective or automatic/intrusive cognitive processing of the loss mediates the relationship between social support and growth in sample of bereaved adults. A sample of 114 participants who had experienced the death of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent, or sibling) within the past three years completed a series of self-report measures received by mail. Hypotheses that perceived emotional and advice/ guidance support, social support satisfaction, and network size positively correlate with growth were confirmed, such that each social support variable demonstrated a positive correlation with personal growth. Cognitive processing variables differed substantially in their relationships with growth. Consistent with hypotheses, positive reinterpretation coping had a significant positive relationship with growth, whereas intrusive thoughts were negatively related to growth. Contrary to hypotheses, personal reflection was unrelated to growth. Type of death, time since death, and other demographic characteristics did not demonstrate relationships with personal growth. Using hierarchical multiple regression and the Sobel test of indirect effects, no evidence for the role of mediation for cognitive processing variables between social support and growth was discovered in the current study, after accounting for grief symptoms. Methodological limitations and differences with prior studies may account for lack of mediation effect in the current study. Partial support for the ?Grief to personal growth model? (Hogan & Schmidt, 2002) and the ?Posttraumatic Growth model? (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004) was provided by the current study.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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