Podium Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Cultural Factors Promoting Post-traumatic Growth Experiences: Examples from Tibetan Refugees (#80)

Dilwar Hussain 1
  1. Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati, Assam, India., Guwahati, ASSAM, India

Responses of individuals to traumatic events are varied. Traumatic events can lead to positive transformations that are known as posttraumatic growth (PTG). Most of the empirical studies of PTG have been addressed from a Western perspective. Cultural elements play an important role in influencing the behavior of individuals in the aftermath of trauma. Hence, it is important to conceptualize and measure PTG in the framework of the culture to which the individual belongs. Tibet is renowned for its rich culture and traditions. This study is a qualitative investigation of PTG experiences among 12 Tibetan refugees residing in Dharmshala, Himachal Pradesh, India. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to analyze the narratives of case studies in order to explore various dimensions of PTG experienced by the participants as a result of facing various adversities in their lives. Major themes depicting posttraumatic growth experiences included positive changes in outlook toward the world and people, realization of personal strengths, and the experience of more intimate and meaningful relationships. This study indicates that the cultural worldviews (such as protective hands of Dalai Lama and other Lamas, Buddhist philosophy and practices, historical exemplars of strength and resiliency) provided necessary thrust and schemas for the PTG.