Assessing Positive Posttraumatic Changes Among Professionals Working With Trauma Victims: The Secondary Posttraumatic Growth Inventory

Keywords: consequences of trauma, secondary posttraumatic growth, Secondary Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, psychometric properties, professionals working with trauma victims


By providing constant help to trauma victims, the helpers themselves run the risk of secondary traumatization. As a rule, research focuses on the negative consequences of secondary trauma. Meanwhile, there are also positive changes in the form of Secondary Posttraumatic Growth (SPTG). The present study describes the design and testing of a new tool for measuring SPTG. Thirty items were presented to employees from five different professions constantly working with trauma victims (N = 580). A 4-factor solution (PCA) turned out to be clear and unambiguously interpretable. After excluding items based on their component loading and redundancy, the tool was pared down to 12 items. A separate sample used in confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) yielded good fit indexes. The four dimensions were given the following designations: 1. New challenges and an increase in professional competences, 2. Increase in spiritual experiences and a greater sense of responsibility for others, 3. Greater confidence in oneself and appreciating life, 4. Increased acceptance and actions for others. Cronbach’s alpha was .90. The inventory demonstrated high stability, as indicated by the two-month test–retest stability value (.78). The theoretical validity was estimated by comparing SPTGI scores with other measures which should be associated with secondary positive changes. The SPTGI is a new, reliable, and valid instrument for measuring positive posttraumatic changes among professionals exposed to secondary trauma. It can be useful in scientific research and in clinical practice.


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