None of us are completely immune to trauma, be it a personal loss or a professional crisis or simply fate. What makes each of us unique is how we deal with trauma in our lives. Sadly, for some of us, we may never emerge on the other side with new insights and skills.
But experts have recently started to explore the concept of "Posttraumatic Growth," – or the positive changes that sometimes arise in the aftermath of trauma.
UNC Charlotte Psychology Professors Lawrence Calhoun and Rich Tedeschi are leaders in this field. On March 19, the researchers were presented with the First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal for their contributions. The prestigious award, presented by First Citizens Bank and UNC Charlotte, honors faculty scholarship and intellectual inquiry.
These pioneers have collaborated on ground-breaking research on growth from adversity, which has become one of the most researched concepts in the behavioral sciences. Their partnership began nearly 30 years ago and there are no signs of it ending anytime soon.
Fellow scholars and colleagues concur that together, Calhoun and Tedeschi’s work has made an indelible impact on the field of psychology. They are widely regarded as the preeminent leaders of posttraumatic growth work and practice around the globe and have been important leaders, mentors and role models to colleagues and students alike.
While both are considered prolific individual scholars in their own right, the Calhoun/Tedeschi team has jointly produced 42 journal articles, 16 book chapters and seven books, including the landmark book Trauma and Transformation. Together they are credited with developing the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, considered the "gold standard" for assessing the experience of posttraumatic growth. It is the most widely-used measure of posttraumatic growth, and the existence of the PTGI made it possible for researchers to quantify what had been an elusive phenomenon.
Photo by Wade Bruton.