Peritraumatic distress, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and posttraumatic growth in victims of violence


  • M. J. J. Kunst

    Corresponding author
    1. Tilburg University
    Current affiliation:
    1. Leiden University, Faculty of Law
    • Leiden University, Faculty of Law, Institute for Criminal Law & Criminology, Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw, Room C1.23, P.O. Box 9520 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
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  • The author thanks the Dutch Victim Compensation Fund for their financial and organisational support with the data collection.


This study explored whether peritraumatic distress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are curvilinearly related to posttraumatic growth in victims of violence several years after victimization (Time 1; n = 678) and 6 months later (Time 2, n = 205). At both time points, curve estimation revealed linear and quadratic associations between peritraumatic distress and posttraumatic growth and quadratic associations between PTSD symptoms and posttraumatic growth. In multivariate regressions controlling for background variables, the linear peritraumatic distress and quadratic PTSD symptom terms remained significant predictors of posttraumatic growth Time 1 scores. For Time 2, the linear peritraumatic distress term remained significant, though only prior to controlling for posttraumatic growth Time 1 scores. The results suggest that peritraumatic distress enables growth after substantial time has elapsed since victimization.