Posttraumatic growth in survivors of intimate partner violence: an assumptive world process.

Christine E. Valdez, Michelle M. Lilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adverse consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV) are well documented, whereas less research has explored positive changes. Recent efforts indicate that survivors report posttraumatic growth (PTG), but the schema reconstruction hypothesis by which this is achieved is in need of further investigation. One model of PTG suggests that growth is triggered by trauma(s) that challenges an individual’s assumptive world. This threat promotes cognitive processing and schema reconstruction that fosters a sense of meaning and value in one’s life. As schema change is posited as the main cognitive antecedent of PTG, a longitudinal assessment of world assumptions was used to examine whether assumption change predicts PTG in IPV survivors. Results indicate that world assumptions became more positive 1 year after an initial interview but only for women who had not been revictimized in the year between study assessments. Furthermore, positive world assumption change was associated with greater PTG scores. Implications for intervention and research are discussed.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • posttraumatic growth
  • intimate partner violence
  • world assumptions
  • schema change


  • Psychology

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