• Naeem Aslam


The relationship between adversity and growth iswell documented.1 Religion, philosophy andliterature is full of the examples that showed thatsome level of adversity is necessary for maturationand growth. This is also the central theme of thehumanistic and existential movements of psychologythat a confrontation with tragedy is often precursorsto self-actualisation. Viktor Frankl wrote about thewill to meaning following his experiences inTheresienstadt and Auschwitz are common examplesof this idea.2 Nietzsche’s famous dictum, “Whatdoesn’t kill me makes me stronger” is the sameexpression of this idea. It is not the event itself butthe subjective cognitive appraisal and struggle to theadversity is related to growth.1 Researchers have useda number of different terms to describe individuals’reports of positive outcomes in the face of adversity,including posttraumatic growth, adversarial growth,benefit-finding, stress-related growth, perceivedbenefits and thriving etc.3 Each term refers to aslightly different phenomenon. Several models havebeen proposed regarding the occurrence ofPosttraumatic Growth. These include the FunctionalDescriptive Model4, Organismic Valuing Theory5 andBiopsychosocial-Evolutionary Theory. Althoughwith some variation, these models hypothesise thatthe experience of a highly stressful or traumatic eventshatters an individual’s basic beliefs about the selfand the world. In terms of that the persons perceivesthe changes in relationship with others, personal lifephilosophy and spiritual changes.4Growth or positive outcomes have beenreported following a variety of traumatic experiences,including motor vehicle accidents6, terrorist attacks7,leukaemia8, and cardiac disease9, etc. Findingsshowed that growth is not equal in all sorts ofadversities. It depends upon the nature and intensityof the adversity. Moreover, the patterns are growth isdifferent across gender and age. For example studiesshowed that female exhibit more posttraumaticgrowth as compare to male,3 and age is positivelyassociated with stress symptoms and negatively withPosttraumatic Growth (PTG)10. Question arises howmuch adversity is sufficient for growth. Studiesshowed that very low level of trauma or high level oftrauma may is not associated with growth. However,a moderate level of trauma is associated with thegrowth. Mostly a curvilinear relation has been foundbetween PTG and adversity, i.e., a moderate level ofadversity is associated with positive growth.11,12 Thefocus of the most of the past researches was touncover the adverse consequences of the traumaticaccidents. Hence, the association of psychopathologyand adversity is well studied. There is scarcity ofresearch on this aspect of relationship between theadversity and growth. This editorial is aimed to raiseinterest to conduct the studies that find the predictiverole of daily life stressor to positive changes andmaturity.Adversities are the integral part of life andcannot be avoided. Despite constant avoidance, wehave to face adversities. These cannot be eliminatedbut can be managed with proper adversitymanagement trainings. Adversities are the bestmentors. Although we strive to avoid adversities andprotect the children from bad events. Over protectiveparenting may hinder the growth and maturity of theoffspring’s by buffering and providing shields themfrom the real life challenges and problems of life.Parents should give the children space to resolvedaily life difficulties and challenges. It will help tolead them to the deliberate ruminations, increase theirconfidence, self efficacy, problem solving abilitiesand decision making skills. On this children mightdevelop the sense that they have to ‘live withproblems’ and ‘problem-free life’ does not exist.Instead of dwelling on the problems they have to dealit. As a result they come out of adversity with newstrengths and with better coping skills. As most of thecurrent social scientists suggest that some shockingexperience is necessary for a child to be a realisticperson.


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Khan W. Bachoun Ki Tarbiyat. [Urdu] Al-Risala