The purpose of this study was to examine the association between post-traumatic growth (PTG) among young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic and their psychosocial characteristics—specifically, their distress tolerance, resilience, family connectedness, depressive, anxiety and PTSD symptoms, and worry related to COVID-19. It was published in a special issue of Psychiatry Research about mental health and COVID-19.
The study utilized data from 805 U.S. young adults (18-30 years old) who completed online surveys during the COVID-19 pandemic in two waves (April-August 2020 and September 2020-March 2021).
Overall, young adults reported low PTG scores. PTSD symptoms and worry related to COVID-19 significantly predicted higher levels of PTG, while depressive symptoms predicted lower levels of PTG. Resilience and family connectedness significantly predicted higher levels of PTG, and distress tolerance significantly predicted lower levels of PTG after accounting for sociodemographic characteristics and negative influential factors.
Compared to white participants, Asian participants were less likely to report PTG. In general, young adults have not perceived personal growth from the pandemic; however, young adults with certain psychosocial factors appear to be predisposed to such PTG.
This study highlights the importance of exploring and elucidating potential positive trajectories following the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic.