Resiliency and Religious Orientation: Factors Contributing to Posttraumatic Growth in Iranian Subjects

Article excerpt

Objective: This study investigated the relationship between resilience and religious orientation (internal and external) with posttraumatic growth (PTG). This study also examined the impact of marriage and sex variables on growth.

Method: Participants were selected based on prescreening of a larger group of students enrolled in the University of Shiraz. Participants were recruited in two stages. Three hundred fifty students were randomly selected in the first stage, and those students who experienced a minimum of one traumatic event within the last five years were selected in the second stage. They completed the Traumatic Life Event Questionnaire (TLEQ), the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory - Iranian version (PTGI-I), and the Religious Orientation Scale (ROS).

Results: According to stepwise regression analysis, two subscales of resiliency, novelty seeking and positive future orientation, and a subscale of religious orientation, intrinsic orientation, were related to PTG. In addition, compared to singles, the married subjects experienced greater degree of growth. Personal extrinsic orientation and emotional regulation factor of resilience had a positive and meaningful relationship with PTG, although they were omitted from the regression analysis model. Sex and Socio-Extrinsic religious orientation were not related to PTG.

Conclusion: Some subscales of resiliency and religious orientation could predict posttraumatic growth in Iranian subjects, but there were no gender differences. The intrinsic orientation had the greatest significance in predicting posttraumatic growth. The personal extrinsic orientation had a significant positive correlation with post-traumatic growth, no significant correlation was observed between social extrinsic orientation and post-traumatic growth. The openness to experience was an important feature for proper growth of people facing a trauma. Optimistic subjects showed more flexibility in their coping strategies, and therefore had a tendency to adapt themselves to problematic situations.

Keywords: Psychological resilience, Religion and psychology, Trauma

Iran J Psychiatry 2011; 6:145-150

Increasing evidence exists on the fact that traumatic events can produce many negative physical and psychological consequences (1). In Iran, different studies have reported PTSD after traumatic events (2, 3, 4). In an epidemiological survey of psychiatric disorders in Iran, the prevalence of psychiatric disorders was 10.18%. About 0.98% of the patients suffered from PTSD (2). Although researchers extensively studied the negative effects of trauma, less attention has been paid to the possibility of positive impact of negative events. However, there is a body of literature suggesting that even those exposed to the most traumatic events may benefit from such unpleasant situations (1). The concept of Posttraumatic growth (PTG) was defined (5) (p. 521) as "the experience of significant positive change arising from

the struggle with a major life crisis... Examples of positive psychological change are an increased appreciation of life, setting of new life priorities, a sense of increased personal strength, or positive spiritual change. The phenomenon has been recognized for centuries, but it is only in recent years that attempts have been made to study it systematically (6, 7). Determining predictor variables of posttraumatic growth is an interesting area to study.

The connection between religious-spiritual beliefs and practices and the phenomenon of posttraumatic growth has been demonstrated in the literature (8, 9, 5). Calhoun et al. (5) sought to examine the relationship between religious beliefs and posttraumatic growth. Religiousness was measured by The Quest Scale, which "was designed to measure the degree to which an individual.s religion involves a responsive dialogue with existential questions (10). The scale is made up of 12-items with three factors including Readiness, Doubt, and Openness. …

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