For decades, researchers have studied survivors of war, natural disasters, family violence, extreme poverty, and other major stressors, and have identified a range of factors that seem to promote resilience, defined as the full return to pre-trauma levels of functioning. More recently, researchers have begun to document another positive outcome from trauma —the experience of posttraumatic growth (PTG). To our knowledge, no other studies have explored the role of pre-disaster variables, including pre-disaster psychological symptoms and resources, in predicting post- traumatic growth (PTG). Drawing from theories of recovery as well as a wealth of empirical findings and in-depth case studies from our decade-long research program on natural disaster, as well as more recent work on veterans, we are illuminating patterns of loss and recovery and situating these patterns into the broader literature on PTG and positive psychology.

Selected Publications

Understanding resilience and other trajectories of psychological distress: A mixed-methods study of low-income mothers who survived Hurricane Katrina. Current Psychology

Lowe, S., Rhodes, J., & Waters, M. C. (2015). Understanding resilience and other trajectories of psychological distress: A mixed-methods study of low-income mothers who survived Hurricane Katrina. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 34(3), 537-550. [PDF]

Interaction between genetic variants and exposure to Hurricane Katrina on post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth

Dunn, E. C., Solovieff, N., Lowe, S. R., Gallagher, P. J., Chaponis, J., Rosand, J., Koenan, K. C., Waters, M. C, Rhodes, J.E., & Smoller, J. W. (2014). Interaction between genetic variants and exposure to Hurricane Katrina on post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth. A prospective analysis of low-income adults. Journal of Affective Disorders, 152-154, 243-249.[PDF]

Posttraumatic Stress and Posttraumatic Growth Among Low-Income Mothers Who Survived Hurricane Katrina

Lowe, S. R, Manove, E., & Rhodes, J. E. (2013). Posttraumatic stress and posttraumatic growth among low-income mothers sho survived Hurricane Katrina. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. 81, 5, p877-889 [PDF]

Religious coping, posttraumatic stress, psychological distress, and posttraumatic growth among female survivors four years after Hurricane Katrin

Chan, C. & Rhodes, J. (2013). Religious coping, posttraumatic stress, psychological distress, and posttraumatic growth among female survivors four years after Hurricane Katrina. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26(2), 257-265.[PDF]