Post-Traumatic Growth & Support: Consider Quality & Quantity

Research Paper Title

The impact of received social support on posttraumatic growth after disaster: The importance of both support quantity and quality.

Background

Few studies have investigated the relationship between received social support (actual help received) and posttraumatic growth (PTG), and these studies focused only on the quantity of support received.

This study examined the joint implications of both the quantity and quality of post-disaster received social support for PTG.

Methods

Data were collected from Lushan earthquake (China, in 2013) survivors at 7 (n = 199) and 31 (n = 161) months after the earthquake.

The main effects of quantity and quality of received support, and the interaction between support quantity and support quality, were examined using hierarchical multiple regression analyses controlling for the extent of disaster exposure, post-disaster negative life events, and sociodemographic factors.

Results

Neither quantity nor quality of received social support exerted significant main effects on PTG.

However, the influence of the amount of received social support on PTG was moderated by the quality of received social support.

Among survivors who appraised the post-disaster social support they received as higher in quality, greater amounts of received support were associated with more subsequent PTG.

Among those survivors who appraised the post-disaster social support they received as lower in quality, greater quantity of received support was associated with lower levels of reported PTG.

Conclusions

This study calls attention to the importance of enhancing the quality of help provided to disaster survivors because simply “more” support is not necessarily better.

Reference

Shang, F., Kaniasty, K., Cowlishaw, S., Wade, D., Ma, H. & Forbes, D. (2020) The impact of received social support on posttraumatic growth after disaster: The importance of both support quantity and quality. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. doi: 10.1037/tra0000541. [Epub ahead of print].

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