Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)
School of Education
Lisa Lopez Levers
Posttraumatic growth; trauma; posttraumatic stress disorder; 2007 post-election violence in Kenya; survivors of recurrent, multiple traumatic events; socio-economic status in Kenya; trauma in an African context
Current research has associated the benefits of posttraumatic growth (PTG) with high levels of stress and trauma that challenge the victim’s assumptive world. The literature reveals that extensive research on PTG has been done on the American, European, and Asian continents but not on the African continent. Yet, how trauma survivors make meaning out of their lived experiences may not be the same globally. This universal phenomenon may also have varied interpretations based on the frequency, intensity, and scope of the traumata, along with the survivors’ socio-economic status (SES) and other benefits and risk factors. In addition, anticipation for high-risk factors may facilitate growth. Thus, even though political and electoral violence has posed a serious challenge to the mental health and social wellbeing of the populace in many African countries, information on how trauma survivors make meaning out of their traumatic experiences and knowledge of growth promotion strategies and their implementation is largely inadequate. Though research on posttraumatic growth and social transformation, vicarious traumas, and gender and social environment has been carried out on the African continent, information is lacking on the lived experience of trauma survivors who have experienced recurrent and multiple traumas during post-election violence.
Van Manen’s (1990) construct of lived existentials was used to frame the study conceptually. In-depth interviews—both focus group and individual—demographic data, written journals, video/audio tape, observation strategies, and secondary data/unobtrusive resources were used for data collection. The collected narratives were informed by the demographic data to guide the development of culturally appropriate semi-structured, open-ended questions. This model and Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model (2006) were used in directed content analysis of the collected narratives. Themes and concepts derived from the participants’ scripts, based on activity, action, and meaning, were inductively analyzed and appropriately interpreted. The findings of this investigation have begun to fill the global research knowledge-gap on the experience of PTG among recurrent and multiple trauma survivors and as influenced by their SES. Moreover, the study has scrutinized the presence of PTG and created awareness concerning the influence of PTG on the survivors’ SES. The inquiry has provided resources for establishing growth promotion strategies and their implementation in an African context.
Lang'at, J. C. (2018). Posttraumatic Growth: The Lived Experience of Recurrent and Multiple Trauma Survivors of Kenya’s Skirmishes, 2007 Post-election Violence, and 2009 National Level Oil Tanker Fire Explosion (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1475