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The relationship between post traumatic stress disorder and post traumatic growth: gender differences in PTG and PTSD subgroups

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This study investigated the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post traumatic growth (PTG) in 2,300 earthquake survivors 1 year after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between PTSD and PTG and also tested for the gender differences in PTSD and PTG subgroups.


A stratification random sampling strategy and questionnaires were used to collect the data. The PTSD was assessed using the PTSD Check list-Civilian and the PTG was assessed using the Post traumatic growth inventory. 2,300 individuals were involved in the initial survey with 2,080 completing the final questionnaire, a response rate of 90.4 %. One-way ANOVA analyses were performed to investigate the gender differences in the PTSD and PTG subgroups.


One year following the earthquake, 40.1 and 51.1 % of survivors reported PTSD and PTG, respectively. A bivariate correlation analysis indicated that there was a positive association between PTG and PTSD. The PTG and PTSD variance analysis conducted on female and male subgroups suggested that women were more affected than men.


Given the relatively high PTG prevalence, it was concluded that researchers need to pay more attention to the positive outcomes of an earthquake rather than just focusing on the negative effects. The surveys and analyses indicated that psychological intervention and care for the earthquake disaster survivors should focus more on females and older people, who tend to be more adversely affected.

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The research is supported by the Major Program of National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 12 & ZD217), Sichuan Provincial Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. SC13ZD06) and the research funding of Sichuan University (Grant No. SKG2013001). We appreciated these support both in finance and in spirit.

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Correspondence to Jiuping Xu.

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Jin, Y., Xu, J. & Liu, D. The relationship between post traumatic stress disorder and post traumatic growth: gender differences in PTG and PTSD subgroups. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 49, 1903–1910 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-014-0865-5

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  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Post traumatic growth
  • Earthquake
  • PCL-C
  • PTGI