Trajectories of posttraumatic growth and depreciation after two major earthquakes

Emma M. Marshall, Patricia A Frazier, Sheila Frankfurt, Roeline G. Kuijer

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38 Scopus citations


This study examined trajectories of posttraumatic growth or depreciation (i.e., positive or negative life change) in personal strength and relationships after 2 major earthquakes in Canterbury, New Zealand using group-based trajectory modeling. Participants completed questionnaires regarding posttraumatic growth or depreciation in personal strength and relationship domains 1 month after the first earthquake in September 2010 (N =185) and 3 months (n =156) and 12 months (n =144) after the more severe February 2011 earthquake. Three classes of growth or depreciation patterns were found for both domains. For personal strength, most of the participants were grouped into a "no growth or depreciation" class and smaller proportions were grouped into either a "posttraumatic depreciation" or "posttraumatic growth" class. The 3 classes for relationships all reported posttraumatic growth, differing only in degree. None of the slopes were significant for any of the classes, indicating that levels of growth or depreciation reported after the first earthquake remained stable when assessed at 2 time points after the second earthquake. Multinomial logistic regression analyses examining pre- and postearthquake predictors of trajectory class membership revealed that those in the "posttraumatic growth" personal strength class were significantly younger and had significantly higher pre-earthquake mental health than those in the "posttraumatic depreciation" class. Sex was the only predictor of the relationship classes: No men were assigned to the "high posttraumatic growth" class. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Psychological Association.


  • group-based trajectory modeling
  • natural disaster
  • posttraumatic depreciation
  • posttraumatic growth
  • prospective


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