Posttraumatic growth has garnered increasing interest as a potential positive consequence of traumatic events and illnesses. However, scientific investigations have yet to demonstrate the validity of self-reports of posttraumatic growth. The most common measure used to assess this construct is the Post Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI); however, the extent to which the PTGI (as well as other self-report measures of perceived posttraumatic growth; PPTG) assess actual positive change remains unknown. The present study aimed to examine the validity of PPTG measures. We assessed 83 adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors at two time points, one year apart. We measured the stability of PTGI from T1 to T2, correlated three measures of PPTG that used different methods (only positive, positive or negative, positive and negative change) with wellbeing measures, and compared PTGI scores with changes in psychosocial resources. PTGI scores were stable over time. More nuanced measures of PPTG appeared to capture more perceived change, although no measure of PPTG was favorably related to wellbeing. Finally, PTGI did not correlate with change in psychosocial resources, with the exception of spirituality. Overall, our results suggest that measures of PPTG do not capture actual positive changes experienced by AYA cancer survivors.
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