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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews theory and research on the psychological processes that transform adversity and loss events into personal growth and adjustment. Research tends to support a model of growth that features a significant threat to one’s worldview, followed by a process of searching for and finding meaning. However, there may be other pathways to growth and positive change following adversity. We propose a goal-based model of posttraumatic growth based on the notion that loss events often represent significant threats to meaningful personal projects and goals. Personal growth and adjustment may emerge from a process of disengaging from previous goals blocked by the loss, and the initiation of new, intrinsically meaningful goals. The renegotiation of goals that promise to satisfy one’s fundamental needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness may promote positive identity change and growth.

Keywords: posttraumatic growth, loss, goals, self-determination theory, personal projects

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