Vicarious posttraumatic growth: A systematic literature review


  • Shekinah Faith Manning Massey University, Wellington
  • Ian de Terte Massey University, Wellington
  • Christine Stephens Massey University, Wellington


vicarious posttraumatic growth, vicarious traumatic exposure, review


Twenty-eight articles are included in this review, which provides the first comprehensive review of the vicarious posttraumatic growth (VPTG) literature. Five domains are presented. First, assessment methods of VPTG are reviewed; seventeen studies assessed VPTG using a measure designed for use with direct trauma survivors, three used a non-validated measure, and the remaining eight used an open-ended question. Second, the level of similarity between reports of direct and vicarious posttraumatic growth is examined. VPTG was found to be highly similar to direct posttraumatic growth; however, subtle differences between the two were also identified along with manifestations of growth unique to VPTG. Third, a range of psychological, cognitive, behavioural, interpersonal, and external factors that have been implicated to facilitate VPTG are presented. Fourth, research exploring the relationship between VPTG and secondary traumatic stress is examined. Three possible explanations are presented: a positive linear association, no association, and a more complex curvilinear relationship. Finally, limitations to the current body of knowledge and areas for future research are explored.


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Author Biographies

Shekinah Faith Manning, Massey University, Wellington

Doctorate of Clinical Psychology student

School of Pychology

Ian de Terte, Massey University, Wellington

Senior Lecturer

School of Psychology

Christine Stephens, Massey University, Wellington


School of Psychology







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