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What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger

In the United States every 10 seconds a child is abused or raped and for every case reported, there are two more unreported. Also here in Belgium child abuse exists and one out of ten children is a victim of child abuse. This means that there are 20 reports of child abuse every day (Stuk Online, 2017). But can child abuse positively affect those children as adults? We all know the negative aspects and results of child abuse, but there is little known about the positive aspects.

It can! But the positive effects, also known as post-traumatic growth, is not applicable to all victims. This is because the growth isn’t induced by the traumatic event itself, but how the people deal with the crisis. This makes it also different from resilience. This is because resilience is how you as victim stay positive during the traumatic event, where post-traumatic growth occurs after the events (Liere, C. 2013).

What are examples of post-traumatic growth? The researchers Tedeschi & Calhoun (2004) conclude in their research 10 positive changes in the victims (participants) lives. These 10 changes can be subdivided into three main categories, namely “Inner drive toward growth”, “Vehicles of change” and “Psychological changes”. The 10 changes themself can be found in the publication “Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence”

To end with: The above mentioned research is one of the few studies on this theme. So at the moment, there is not enough research about post-traumatic growth and the connection that exists with child abuse.



Liere, C. (2013). Het vermogen om terug te veren: over de samenhang van veerkracht en posttraumatische groei met psychisch welbevinden bij het omgaan met ingrijpende levensgebeurtenissen. University of Twente.

Tedeschi, R. G. & Calhoun, L. G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence. Psychological inquiry, 15(1), 1–18.