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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Feeling pressured to talk about trauma : how pressure to disclose alters the association between trauma disclosure and posttraumatic growth Kimbley, Claire


Talking with others about traumatic experiences (i.e., trauma disclosure) has been associated with increased posttraumatic growth. While this association indicates the value of disclosing, there is evidence that external pressure to disclose can hinder the benefits of trauma disclosure. The aim of the current study was to examine the influence of pressure to disclose on the association between trauma disclosure and posttraumatic growth. People who had experienced a traumatic event and had disclosed their trauma to a close other were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (n = 208). Participants completed measures of traumatic experiences, trauma disclosure, pressure to disclose, posttraumatic growth, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and responses to disclosure. Results indicated that the linear association between trauma disclosure and posttraumatic growth was quadratically moderated by pressure to disclose. Pressure to disclose strengthened the positive association between trauma disclosure and growth from low to moderate levels of pressure. However, increasing from moderate to high pressure weakened the association between disclosure and growth. These findings indicate that a moderate amount of pressure to disclose may facilitate the positive impact of disclosure on posttraumatic growth; yet a high amount of pressure may impede disclosure’s positive association with growth. This research furthers our understanding of the nuance of trauma disclosure and how the involvement of close others in trauma disclosures can impact the process of posttraumatic growth for trauma survivors.

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