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A National Trauma: Coping Strategies and Positive Growth in College Students
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by Amanda McIntosh, Eric Cameron, and Laurel L. Camp - Marian College
Categories: Social | Adjustment & Coping
Previous trauma research has focused primarily on coping and change resulting from individual traumas rather than from traumatic events shared by large groups. This study examined how college students coped with the traumatic events of September 11, 2001, and explored the degree to which personal traits and/or coping strategies were related to personal growth. College students (N = 145) completed packets containing a coping question and 4 standardized surveys, 6 weeks after September 11. Six primary coping strategies were reported. Students using acceptance had significantly lower levels of event impact and posttraumatic growth (PTG). Women were more impacted by the event and reported more PTG than did men. A regression analysis of PTG indicated that being female, having high impact, and high religiosity predicted more PTG. The similarities and differences in coping and PTG responses to individual versus group trauma are discussed.