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12-06-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2020

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2020

Processing and Resolving Major Life Stressors: An Examination of Meaning-Making Strategies

Tijdschrift:
Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2020
Auteurs:
Iris Lachnit, Crystal L. Park, Login S. George
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Abstract

Background

Meaning making is thought to be key to adjustment following major life stressors, but there is a dearth of research on the topic. We examined how three types of meaning-making related to distress and violations across time. Further, we examined whether meaning-making’s association with distress was contingent on whether meaning was made.

Methods

Undergraduates who recently experienced a “very stressful event or situation” were assessed four times over 9 weeks (N = 180; 76% female; Mage = 18.84 years).

Results

Positive reinterpretation was cross-sectionally associated with better adjustment, but higher baseline emotional processing predicted faster declines in goal violations across time. Baseline emotional processing predicted improving or worsening intrusive thoughts depending on whether meaning was made

Conclusions

Meaning-making strategies may have distinct roles in adjustment, with some conferring immediate benefits, while others confer benefits over time and perhaps only to the extent that it leads to greater meaning made.

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