ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (10): 1509-1520.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.01509

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The Roles of Rumination and Social Support in the Associations between Core Belief Challenge and Post-traumatic Growth among Adolescent Survivors after the Wenchuan Earthquake

ZHOU Xiao1; WU Xinchun1; AN Yuanyuan2; CHEN Jieling1   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875,China) (2 School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China)
  • Received:2013-10-28 Published:2014-10-25 Online:2014-10-25
  • Contact: WU Xinchun, E-mail:


The aftermath of traumatic events differs from person to person. Although some people show negative results, many people report positive results such as Post-traumatic Growth (PTG). PTG refers to positive psychological changes resulted from individuals’ struggle against their main threatening life adversity, and it contains changed perception of self, changed sense of interpersonal relationship, and changed philosophy of life. Recently, the overwhelming majority of research has put their emphasis on the influencing factors of PTG, particularly the exploration of the developmental mechanism of PTG. According to Calhoun and Tedeschi’s model of PTG, traumatic event is assumed to challenge the important components of individuals’ assumptive world or core beliefs. When a trauma event happens, individuals are led to reexamine their core beliefs, and what makes it possible for individuals to recognize the positive changes and experience PTG. Therefore, the challenge to individuals’ assumptive world or core beliefs is an important element for understanding the developmental process of PTG. Although many theoretical and empirical studies agreed that core belief challenge had effects on PTG, the roles of other relevant factors in the relationship of core belief challenge to PTG have been ignored. Relevant theories indicate that rumination may play an important role in the process which core belief challenge affects PTG, and social support may moderate the path which rumination impacts on PTG. For this reason, rumination and social support were incorporated into the exploration of relationship between core beliefs and PTG in our study, and the internal mechanism how core belief challenge affects PTG was also taken into much account. In the current study, 354 adolescents (165 males, 189 females) from grade 8, 9 in junior schools and grade 11, 12 in senior high schools of the Wenchuan county were investigated by means of questionnaires four and a half years after the Wenchuan earthquake. The main results were as follows: (1) The overall level of PTG among adolescents was high, while the level of female students was higher than that of male students, and the grade 8 students’ PTG level was lower than that of students from any other grades. (2) Both intrusive rumination and deliberate rumination mediated partly the relationship between core belief challenge and PTG. On the one hand, core belief challenge could affect the PTG directly. On the other hand, core belief challenge could affect PTG negatively through intrusive rumination while had a positive effect on PTG through deliberate rumination. In addition, core belief challenge could affect PTG positively via the indirect way which intrusive rumination influenced deliberate rumination. (3) Neither the relationship of intrusive rumination to nor deliberate rumination to PTG, the path which social support moderated was the relationship of intrusive rumination to deliberate rumination. To be specific, the effect of intrusive rumination on deliberate rumination decreased with the increase of social support. That is, social support moderated the indirect path from intrusive rumination to PTG via deliberate rumination. The results have indicated that school psychologists should take notice of the changes in adolescents’ core beliefs before and after the disaster, and guide them to think the significance of life positively. Moreover, the encouragement of positive cognition should also be given while social support for students be provided.

Key words: core belief challenge, intrusive rumination, deliberate rumination, social support, PTG