OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Personality Traits and Coping Mechanisms in the Development of Post- Traumatic Growth


In recent years the concept Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG), psychological growth, has emerged in research in addition to PTSD as a consequence of severe trauma. Those who experience PTG exhibit greater personal and spiritual strength, a greater appreciation of life, and a reprioritizing of life’s priorities. Aside from “typical trauma”, LGBT individuals experience a unique set of traumatic stressors. The current study examines personality traits and coping mechanisms associated with the development of PTG and PTSD in the heterosexual and LGBT community. Three hundred heterosexual and LGBT community members were given the Life Event Checklist modified to include LGBT specific stressors, the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory, the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, the Big Five Inventory, the Coping with Discrimination Scale, the Coping Self-Efficacy Scale and the Basic Personality Inventory. It was hypothesized that positive personality traits would be associated with PTG among both heterosexual and LGBT individuals. It was also hypothesized that negative traits would be correlated with PTSD in the heterosexual and LGBT communities. Lastly, it was hypothesized that social support, coming out, self-acceptance, and hardiness would be positively correlated with PTG in the LGBT community to a greater extent than in the heterosexual community. The findings largely support these hypotheses. Implications of this study point to the importance of assessing for individuals’ strengths in addition to dysfunction following the experience of trauma. Additionally the findings suggest that members of the LGBT community may have unique strategies for coping with trauma and LGBT-focused intervention should consider bolstering these specific strategies.

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