Posttraumatic growth, resiliency, and basic hope in soldiers fighting in Eastern Ukraine

  • Viktoriya Kondratyuk Institute of Theological Studies of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
  • Małgorzata M. Puchalska-Wasyl The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Institute of Psychology
Keywords: posttraumatic growth, resiliency, basic hope, combat veterans, war


In 2014, the Eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk became a scene of military operations that continue until now. Data from 58 soldiers who have taken part in the Ukrainian conflict were analyzed in order to answer the following question: How do basic hope and various aspects of resiliency explain the intensity of different aspects of posttraumatic growth (PTG) in soldiers fighting in the East of Ukraine? Four stepwise regression analyses were conducted. In each of them one of particular aspects of PTG was the dependent variable, whereas the group of predictors consisted of basic hope and three aspects of resiliency. It turned out that Personal strength as well as Appreciation of life were positively related to Openness to new experiences and a sense of humor. Relating to others was strongly related to Basic hope. Finally, Spiritual change depended on Basic hope as well as Persistence and determination in action. Because of the small sample size, the results should be treated with caution. However, they seem to encourage further research concerning this group.


Bedyńska, S., & Książek, M. (2012). Statystyczny drogowskaz 3 [Statistical signpost 3]. Warsaw, Poland: Wydawnictwo Akademickie Sedno.

Bensimon, M. (2012). Elaboration on the association between trauma, PTSD and posttraumatic growth: The role of trait resilience. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 782–787.

Block, J., & Kremen, A. M. (1996). IQ and ego-resiliency: Conceptual and empirical connections and separateness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 349–361.

Bonano, G. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events? American Psychologist, 59, 20–28.

Calhoun, L. G., & Tedeschi, R. G. (2006). The foundations of posttraumatic growth: An expanded framework. In L. G. Calhoun & R. G. Tedeschi (Eds.), The handbook of posttraumatic growth: Research and practice (pp. 1–23). Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dąbrowski, K. (1967/1984). Osobowość i jej kształtowanie poprzez dezintegrację pozytywną [Personality: Shaping through positive disintegration]. Lublin, Poland: Polskie Towarzystwo Higieny Psychicznej.

Drwal, R. Ł. (1995). Problemy kulturowej adaptacji kwestionariuszy osobowości [Problems of the cultural adaptation of personality questionnaires]. In P. Brzozowski & P. Oleś (Eds.), Adaptacja kwestionariuszy osobowości [Adaptation of personality questionnaires] (pp. 12–26). Warsaw, Poland: PWN.

Ebert, A., & Dyck, M. J. (2004). The experience of mental death: The core feature of complex posttraumatic stress disorder. Clinical Psychology Review, 24(6), 617–635.

Erikson, E. H. (1993). Childhood and society. New York, NY, US: WW Norton.

Erikson, E. H. (1994). Identity and the life cycle. New York, NY, US: WW Norton.

Feder, A., Southwick, S. M., Goetz, R. R., Wang, Y., Alonso, A., Smith, B. W., . . . Vythilingam, M. (2008). Posttraumatic growth in former Vietnam prisoners of war. Psychiatry, 71(4), 359–370.

Felcyn-Koczewska, M., & Ogińska-Bulik, N. (2012). Psychologiczne czynniki sprzyjające wystąpieniu potraumatycznego rozwoju u osób w żałobie [Psychological factors conducive to posttraumatic growth in people in mourning]. In N. Ogińska-Bulik & J. Miniszewska (Eds.), Zdrowie w cyklu życia człowieka [Health in the human life cycle] (pp. 61–74). Łódź, Poland: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.

Field, A. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc.

Forstmeier, S., Kuwert, P., Spitzer, C., Freyberger, H. J., & Maercker, A. (2009). Posttraumatic growth, social acknowledgment as survivors, and sense of coherence in former German child soldiers of World War II. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 17(2), 1030–1039.

Frankl, V. (1946/2009). Człowiek w poszukiwaniu sensu życia [Man’s search for meaning]. Warsaw, Poland: Jacek Santorski.

Fredrickson, B. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218–226.

George, D., & Mallery, M. (2010). SPSS for Windows step by step: A simple guide and reference, 17.0 update. Boston, MA, US: Pearson.

Gorzkowicz, A. (2017). Wojna hybrydowa na Ukrainie jako przykład współczesnych konfliktów zbrojnych [The hybrid war in Ukraine as an example of contemporary armed conflicts]. Roczniki Studenckie Akademii Wojsk Lądowych, 1(1), 145–160.

Habib, A., Stevelink, S. A., Greenberg, N., & Williamson, V. (2018). Posttraumatic growth in (ex-) military personnel: Review and qualitative synthesis. Occupation Medicine, 68, 617–625.

Heszen, I. (2014). Psychologia stresu [Psychology of stress]. Warsaw, Poland: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.

Hijazi, A. M., Keith, J. A., & O’Brien, C. (2015). Predictors of posttraumatic growth in a multiwar sample of US combat veterans. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 21(3), 395–408.

Kimhi, S., Eshel, Y., Zysberg, L., & Hantman, S. (2010). Postwar winners and losers in the long run: Determinants of war related stress symptoms and posttraumatic growth. Community Mental Health, 46, 10–19.

Luthar, S., Cicchetti, D., & Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: Critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development, 71, 543–562.

Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. New York, NY, US: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Mróz, J., & Kaleta, K. (2017). Cognitive and emotional predictors of episodic and dispositional forgiveness. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 48(2), 143–153.

Murphy, P., & Hevey, D. (2013). The relationship between internalised HIV-related stigma and posttraumatic growth. AIDS and Behavior, 17, 1809–1818.

Ogińska-Bulik, N. (2010). Potraumatyczny rozwój w chorobie nowotworowej – rola prężności [Posttraumatic growth in cancer: The role of resiliency]. Polskie Forum Psychologiczne, 15(2), 125–139.

Ogińska-Bulik, N. (2012). Prężność a potraumatyczny rozwój u młodzieży [Resiliency and posttraumatic growth in adolescence]. In N. Ogińska-Bulik & J. Miniszewska (Eds.), Zdrowie w cyklu życia człowieka [Health in the human life cycle] (pp. 75–87). Łódź, Poland: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.

Ogińska-Bulik, N. (2013). Pozytywne skutki doświadczeń traumatycznych, czyli kiedy łzy zamieniają się w perły [Positive effects of traumatic experiences: When tears turn into pearls]. Warsaw, Poland: Wydawnictwo Difin.

Ogińska-Bulik, N., & Juczyński, Z. (2008). Skala Pomiaru Prężności – SPP 25 [The Assessment of Resiliency Scale—SPP 25]. Nowiny Psychologiczne, 3, 39–56.

Ogińska-Bulik, N., & Juczyński, Z. (2010). Rozwój potraumatyczny – charakterystyka i pomiar [Posttraumatic growth: Characteristics and measurement]. Psychiatria, 7, 129–142.

Oleś, P. K. (2000). Psychologia przełomu połowy życia [The psychology of midlife transition]. Lublin, Poland: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL.

Pargament, K. I. (1997). The psychology of religion and coping. New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.

Park, C. L. (2006). Religion as a meaning-making framework in coping with life stress. Journal of Social Issues, 6(4), 709–718.

Park, C. L., & Folkman, S. (1997). Meaning in the context of stress and coping. Review of General Psychology, 1(2), 115–144.

Park, C. L., Smith, P. H., Lee, S. Y., Mazure, C. M., McKee, S. A., & Hoff, R. (2017). Positive and negative religious/spiritual coping and combat exposure as predictors of posttraumatic stress and perceived growth in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 9(1), 13–20.

Pietrzak, R., Goldstein, M., Malley, J., Rivers, A., Johnson, D., Morgan, C., & Southwick, S. (2010). Posttraumatic growth in veterans of operations enduring freedom and Iraqi freedom. Journal of Affective Disorders, 126, 230–235.

Solomon, Z., & Dekel, R. (2007). Posttraumatic stress disorder and posttraumatic growth among Israeli ex-POWs. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 303–312.

Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (1996). The Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory: Measuring the positive legacy of trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9(3), 455–471.

Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (2004). Posttraumatic growth: Conceptual foundations and empirical evidence. Psychological Inquiry, 15, 1–8.

Trzebiński, J., & Gruszecka, E. (2012). Siła nadziei podstawowej i poziom samooceny a wrażliwość na pokrzywdzenie: Badanie eksperymentalne [The strength of basic hope, the level of self-esteem, and emotional vulnerability: An experimental study]. Przegląd Psychologiczny, 55(4), 335–346.

Trzebiński, J., & Zięba, M. (2003a). Kwestionariusz Nadziei Podstawowej —BHI-12 [Basic Hope Questionnaire—BHI-12]. Warsaw, Poland: Psychological Test Laboratory of the Polish Psychological Association.

Trzebiński, J., & Zięba, M. (2003b). Nadzieja, strata i rozwój [Hope, loss, and growth]. Psychologia Jakości Życia, 2(1), 5–33.

Trzebiński, J., & Zięba, M. (2004). Basic hope as a world-view: An outline of a concept. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 35(3), 173–182.

Tsai, J., Sippel, L. M., Mota, N., Southwick, S. M., & Pietrzak R. H. (2016). Longitudinal course of posttraumatic growth among U.S. military veterans: Results from the national health and resilience in veterans study. Depression and Anxiety, 33, 9–18.

Tugade, M. M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). Resilient individuals use positive emotions to bounce back from negative emotional experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(2), 320–333.

Tugade, M. M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2007). Regulation of positive emotions: Emotion regulation strategies that promote resilience. Journal of Happiness Studies, 8(3), 311–333.

Uchnast, Z. (1997). Prężność osobowa: Empiryczna typologia i metoda pomiaru [Personal resiliency: Empirical typology and measurement method]. Roczniki Filozoficzne, 45(4), 27–49.

Westphal, M., & Bonanno, G. A. (2007). Posttraumatic growth and resilience to trauma: Different sides of the same coin or different coins? Applied Psychology, 56, 416–426.

Zięba, M. (2015). Właściwości psychometryczne kwestionariusza BHI-R. Wstępny raport z badań walidacyjnych [Psychometric properties of the BHI–R questionnaire. Preliminary report on validation tests]. Retrieved from

Zięba, M., Czarnecka-van Luijken, J., & Wawrzyniak, M. (2010). Nadzieja podstawowa i wzrost potraumatyczny [Basic hope and posttraumatic growth]. Studia Psychologiczne, 1, 109–121.