Current Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 1225–1234 | Cite as

Posttraumatic Growth Reported by Emerging Adults: a Multigroup Analysis of the Roles of Attachment, Support, and Coping

  • Steven D. SchmidtEmail author
  • Thomas O. Blank
  • Keith M. Bellizzi
  • Crystal L. Park


The purpose of this research was to examine reports of and pathways to posttraumatic growth (PTG) by emerging adults who have experienced trauma during adolescence compared with a comparison group recruited from the same sample frame. The sample consisted of 546 college students; 359 reported having experienced a traumatic event during adolescence, and 187 college students reporting no such trauma made up the comparison group. Independent t-tests revealed that the comparison group reported more growth in the domain of new possibilities; whereas, the trauma group reported more growth in the domains of spiritual change and appreciation for life. Structural equation modelling revealed no differences in factor loadings or path regression weights between the groups, suggesting that there was consistency in the influence that attachment, social support, and coping had on reports of PTG. However, constraining the intercepts did result in a poorer model fit; specifically, scores of growth in new possibilities and engagement in intrapersonal coping strategies (active, positive reframing, planning) were higher for the comparison group. Because these coping strategies also had the strongest path coefficient to PTG across groups, engagement in intrapersonal coping strategies appears to be a pathway to realizing growth, which is more likely to be experienced by college students but less likely to be achieved by emerging adults of adolescent trauma.


Posttraumatic growth Coping Attachment Social support 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven D. Schmidt
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Thomas O. Blank
    • 1
  • Keith M. Bellizzi
    • 1
  • Crystal L. Park
    • 3
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWilson CollegeChambersburgUSA
  3. 3.PsychologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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