"Turning personal tragedy into triumph": A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on posttraumatic growth among suicide-loss survivors

Yossi Levi-Belz, Karolina Krysinska, Karl Andriessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is a significant positive change experienced by an individual following stressful or challenging life events in his or her life. PTG has been explored in various populations; however, only recently, the concept has been applied to suicide bereavement and postvention. This systematic review aims to explore whether PTG can ensue in the aftermath of a suicide loss and what are the sociodemographic and psychological correlates of PTG among suicide-loss survivors. METHOD: A systematic review, adhering to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, identified 11 quantitative studies published between 2009 and 2019. The review was followed by an examination of the pooled effect size for the main correlates of PTG. RESULTS: PTG following suicide loss was reported to be positively associated with time since loss, adaptive coping strategies, and help-seeking. Furthermore, perceived social support and self-disclosure mediated the relations between both PTG and attachment style and between PTG and belongingness. A meta-analysis provided evidence that these two factors have strong averaged pool effects for their correlations with PTG. CONCLUSIONS: The systematic review and meta-analysis found evidence of PTG following suicide loss and identified several psychosocial correlates of growth. Limitations of the reviewed studies, which included a lack of control groups and cross-sectional design, constrain the generalizability of the findings. Nonetheless, PTG is a relatively new area of research in postvention that carries substantial implications for the delivery of effective support to individuals coping with suicide loss. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-332
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Cite this