In early November Dr. Taku traveled to Japan to present her Symposium Experiences of Personal Growth Resulting from Trauma: Posttraumatic Growth. The Symposium was presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of The Japanese Association of Educational Psychology.
Dr. Taku discussed possible reasons why Japanese consistently report lower growth on the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) across research. Dr. Taku explained Japanese participants also report lower scores on the Core-belief inventory (CBI), suggesting that Japanese participants beliefs are not as shaken from trauma, even after the March 11th earthquake, suggesting that those raised in the Japanese culture are more resilient to stress and trauma, leading Japanese to report less growth on the PTGI as Americans. Dr. Taku also brought up that cultural norms may be another reason why Japanese tend to report lower growth. Japanese culture may be more hesitant to articulate positive changes from trauma in fear of others who may still be struggling with trauma and stress.
So what does all this mean? It is not that Japanese do not experience the growth or positive psychological changes after trauma but may be more hesitant to report and articulate those changes. It is necessary to examine the importance of positive psychological changes in differing populations. Although Americans may be able to express their positive changes more easily because of the acceptance of positive changes in the culture, it does not mean they actually experience more growth than Japanese. Further research in this area is necessary to understand how to capture posttraumatic growth and develop a culture-sensitive intervention program in different populations and.