Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Maureen Carrigan

Abstract

Posttraumatic growth (PTG) can be defined as the experience of positive change, or psychological growth, that occurs as a result of a highly challenging life event or crisis (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). Given that over one-third of the American population lives with some form of cardiovascular disease (American Heart Association, 2011), promoting posttraumatic growth in this population may promote more successful adaptation and coping and may serve to reduce morbidity and mortality (Affleck, 1987). Thus, the present study investigated the predictors of posttraumatic growth in a cardiac rehabilitation setting at rehabilitation entrance (PTG1) and exit (PTG2) and examined change in PTG scores over time. Although PTG scores were not significantly different at rehabilitation completion, results of the present study revealed that PTG1 was primarily predicted by deliberate rumination scores and a poorer physical quality of life at rehabilitation entrance and PTG2 was primarily predicted by deliberate rumination scores and greater physical impairment rehabilitation completion. Longitudinally, PTG2 was primarily predicted by intrusive rumination scores and a poorer quality of life at rehabilitation entrance. This study contributes to a deeper understanding of the clinical and behavioral characteristics that are likely to correspond to PTG in cardiac patients.

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