The purpose of this study was to examine prosocial behaviors of individuals who have or have not experienced individual traumas, and to assess whether experiencing multiple types of trauma will be related to prosocial behavior and posttraumatic growth. There were 118 undergraduate students who responded to an online survey comprised of three established measures. Participants indicated the nature of traumatic events through a checklist, with prosocial behavior and posttraumatic growth assessed through self-report questionnaires. There was no difference between those who experienced trauma and those who had not experienced trauma in their tendencies toward prosocial behavior. However, individuals who had experienced at least one traumatic event and who reported strong tendencies toward prosocial behavior did report higher levels of posttraumatic growth than those who reported weaker tendencies toward prosocial behavior. Although experiencing one or more than one type of traumatic event had no significant relationship with prosocial behavior, participants who experienced one type of traumatic event reported lower levels of posttraumatic growth than those who experienced more than one type of trauma. The potential for prosocial behavior to be linked more with posttraumatic growth than to traumatic experiences is discussed.
Trull, Rhiannon, "Prosocial Behavior and Posttraumatic Growth After Trauma" (2014). College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs Presentations. 4.