Posttraumatic growth (PTG) denotes positive changes that arise due to one’s struggle with traumatic experiences. Despite growing interest in this field since the 1980s, PTG among individuals who have experienced trauma in childhood has been relatively understudied, and the process by which it occurs requires further examination. The narratives of 51 elderly Polish people who narrated their WWII experiences, deportation to Soviet labour camps, and migration to New Zealand as refugee children were analyzed by thematic content analysis. PTG was identified using the 5 factors of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory: Relating to Others, New Possibilities, Personal Strength, Spiritual Change, and Appreciation of Life. The most commonly mentioned PTG dimension overall and among women was Changes in Interpersonal Relationships, a dimension that reflects a change that includes feeling closer to others, improvements in getting along with others, and a better understanding of others. Men reported instances of Changes in Perception of Self more frequently than women, though further analysis would be required to confirm significant gender differences. These results reveal that the experience of childhood trauma and migration may be affected by a country’s welcome practices towards refugees, and that these experiences can influence personal transformations that occur across the lifespan.
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