The role of social support in contributing to posttraumatic growth in persons with vision impairment
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Salesian Pontifical University, Rome, Italy
Submission date: 2020-04-08
Final revision date: 2020-05-15
Acceptance date: 2020-06-03
Online publication date: 2020-07-03
Publication date: 2020-07-03
Health Psychology Report 2020;8(3):238–247
Some individuals report transformational growth understood as lasting positive changes following adverse ex-periences. Recently psychological research has attempted to understand the complex relationship between adversity and subsequent growth. In 1995 Tedeschi and Calhoun coined the term “posttraumatic growth” (PTG), which is also termed “adversarial growth” by Linley and Joseph. PTG has become a leading area of research, striving for a balanced positive psychology that integrates the complexity between the negatives and positives to optimise positive outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to elucidate the role of social support in contributing to PTG in three study cases.

Participants and procedure:
The qualitative approach was based on semi-structured interviews with three women over 50 who lost vision when they were 18, 25 and 43 years old. Two of the participants were Polish, and one was Australian. The Eco-logical Systems Theory (EST) of Bronfenbrenner was used to demonstrate changes, as its process-person-context model permits this investigation.

This study revealed that social support contributed to the PTG experienced after vision loss in the cases studied. Participants stressed that the received social support enhanced their gratitude and helped them grow in many unexpected ways. The relation characterised by the synergy between social support, gratitude and growth has been suggested by the participants.

The trajectories of PTG in these studies varied and were influenced by individual resources and the socio-cultural contexts of the participants.

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