Finding positive meaning in a stressful event and coping


Finding positive meaning in a stressful event and coping


Thompson SC


Basic And Applied Social Psychology




Stress; Parent caregivers; Coping Behavior; Positivism; adults whose homes were damaged by fire assessed immediately after vs 1 yr later; coping & blaming others; Disasters; Emotional Trauma; finding positive meaning in traumatic event; Life Experiences; Meaningfulness


Surveyed 32 people (average age 63 yrs) whose homes were damaged or destroyed by a fire immediately after the fire and 1 yr later, to examine the prediction that finding positive meaning in that traumatic event would be associated with better coping and with less blame to others for the event. Five ways of focusing on the positive were measured in this study: finding side benefits, making social comparisons, imagining worse situations, forgetting the negative, and redefining. As expected, positive revaluators coped better and were somewhat less likely to blame others. Two alternative explanations for these relationships--amount of loss incurred and social desirability--were considered, but analyses did not lend support to these interpretations. The longitudinal analysis indicated that one's initial cognitive orientation toward an event such as a fire appears to be fairly stable: There were few changes in positive meaning or blame during the year following the fire. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)


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Journal Article


Thompson SC, “Finding positive meaning in a stressful event and coping,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed June 17, 2024,