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An Exploratory Study of the Story of Post-Traumatic Growth in Aboriginal Adults Open Access


Other title
Posttramatic growth
Medicine Wheel
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hawley, Kelty D.
Supervisor and department
Yohani, Sophie (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Truscott, Derek (Educational Psychology)
Larsen, Denise (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
Counselling Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Education
Degree level
Post-traumatic growth (PTG) is a phenomenon that describes how people grow in positive ways after trauma, surpassing their original level of functioning (Joseph, 2009). It is different from resiliency and coping, which can be characterized as “bouncing back” while PTG can be described as “bouncing forward” from trauma (Johnson et al., 2007; Poorman, 2002). According to Karmali et al. (2005), Aboriginal Canadians have a four times greater risk of severe trauma than the general population. This increased risk of trauma is largely due to the inter-generational trauma and devastating social impact of colonialism (Bombay, Matheson, & Anisman, 2011). It is surprising that with the high rates of trauma in this population, no research, to date, has examined PTG in this group. To begin to rectify this imbalance, this narrative-informed inquiry was implemented to tell the story of two Aboriginal adults’ stories of PTG. The Medicine Wheel was used as a lens to explore and describe the participants’ growth. From the data, six themes emerged: achieving clarity, seeking help from others, letting go, the importance of a spiritual connection, helping others, and a work in progress. Finally counselling implications of the study and directions for future research are presented.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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