Prevalence and determinants of secondary posttraumatic growth following trauma work among medical personnel: a cross sectional study

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Nina Ogińska-Bulik, Piotr Jerzy Gurowiec, Paulina Michalska & Edyta Kędra


Background: People helping trauma victims as a part of their work may experience positive results, known as Secondary Posttraumatic Growth (SPTG).

Aim: The present study aimed to determine the prevalence and determinants of SPTG among medical personnel, considering occupational load, job satisfaction, social support, and cognitive processing of trauma, understood as cognitive coping strategies.

Methods: Subjects comprised 419 representatives of the medical profession, including paramedics and nurses. The age of the subjects varied from 19 to 65 (M = 39.60; SD = 11.03). Four standard measurement tools were utilized: the Secondary Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, the Job Satisfaction Scale, the Social Support Scale, which measured four support sources, and the Cognitive Processing of Trauma Scale to assess five cognitive coping strategies. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were applied to analyse the connections between the variables. A linear stepwise regression analysis was used to identify the determinants of SPTG. Pearson’s correlation coefficients with confidence intervals were applied to analyse the connections between the variables.

Results: As many as 40% of participants experienced high levels of growth, with only 27.4% indicating a low level. The obtained results showed positive links between job satisfaction, all social support dimensions (from supervisors, co-workers, family, friends), all cognitive coping strategies (positive cognitive restructuring, downward comparison, resolution/acceptance, denial, regret), and SPTG. No significant connection between workload and SPTG total was discovered. The primary determinant of SPTG in the examined group of medical personnel is the cognitive processing of trauma, chiefly the strategy of positive cognitive restructuring.

Conclusions: Paramedics and nurses, despite their exposure to secondary trauma, experience positive posttraumatic consequences of the profession that entails helping the injured parties. It is advisable to encourage the medical personnel to apply positive coping strategies, find satisfaction in their work, and benefit from social support to promote posttraumatic growth.

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