Vicarious posttraumatic growth: A systematic literature review
Keywords:vicarious posttraumatic growth, vicarious traumatic exposure, review
Twenty-eight articles are included in this review, which provides the first comprehensive review of the vicarious posttraumatic growth (VPTG) literature. Five domains are presented. First, assessment methods of VPTG are reviewed; seventeen studies assessed VPTG using a measure designed for use with direct trauma survivors, three used a non-validated measure, and the remaining eight used an open-ended question. Second, the level of similarity between reports of direct and vicarious posttraumatic growth is examined. VPTG was found to be highly similar to direct posttraumatic growth; however, subtle differences between the two were also identified along with manifestations of growth unique to VPTG. Third, a range of psychological, cognitive, behavioural, interpersonal, and external factors that have been implicated to facilitate VPTG are presented. Fourth, research exploring the relationship between VPTG and secondary traumatic stress is examined. Three possible explanations are presented: a positive linear association, no association, and a more complex curvilinear relationship. Finally, limitations to the current body of knowledge and areas for future research are explored.
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