“It didn't bring back the old me but helped me on the path to the new me”: exploring posttraumatic growth in British veterans with PTSD

Article


Walker, P. A. and Kampman, H. 2021. “It didn't bring back the old me but helped me on the path to the new me”: exploring posttraumatic growth in British veterans with PTSD. Disability and Rehabilitation. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2021.1995056
AuthorsWalker, P. A. and Kampman, H.
Abstract

Purpose

This study explores the role of scuba diving therapy in growth experiences of ex-servicemen. Previous research has focused on difficulties arising from re-entering civilian life after deployment. Known mental health challenges occurring after severe combat related trauma exposure include depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, less is known about the potential positive transformation which can occur when individuals navigate these challenges. Known facilitators of this positive transformation, often referred to as posttraumatic growth (PTG), are still sparse in this participant pool.

Methods

This study utilized an in-depth qualitative approach of interpretative phenomenological analysis utilizing semi-structured interviews. A homogeneous sample of five male British ex-service personnel with a diagnosis of PTSD who identified with PTG was recruited.

Results

All participants reported positive mental health benefits from diving with four themes emerging: human connection; meaningful leisure; embodiment; and the calm.

Conclusions

Scuba diving appeared to afford instant access to lasting relief of anxiety, stress, and symptoms of PTSD and reduction of physical symptoms of their trauma connected to underwater weightlessness. The reduction of PTSD symptoms carved space for PTG, facilitated through a meaningful leisure environment with opportunities for human connection with individuals who had gone through similar experiences.

JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
ISSN1464-5165
Year2021
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2021.1995056
Publication dates
Online29 Oct 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Oct 2021
Deposited04 Nov 2021
Copyright holder© 2021 Taylor & Francis
Additional information

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in
Disability and Rehabilitation. Petra Ann Walker & Hanna Kampman (2021) “It didn't bring back the old me but helped me on the path to the new me”: exploring posttraumatic growth in British veterans with PTSD, Disability and Rehabilitation, DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2021.1995056. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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