Thesis Proposal Review: Growing beyond trauma. Measuring and promoting Post Traumatic Growth and wellbeing in cohorts exposed to traumatic events


While exposure to traumatic events can result in negative psychological outcomes, there is growing research to suggest that trauma can also lead to positive psychological consequences and personal change. Positive adaptations, such as Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG), have been found to reduce the likelihood of trauma-related mental health issues.

The aims of this PhD program on PTG are two-fold. First, to develop a world-first scale to measure PTG literacy and use this scale to assess PTG literacy levels in an Australian population. Literacy levels (in any population) have not been reported in the trauma literature, largely due to the absence of a published literacy scale. Second, to develop and trial a preventative program designed to increase PTG literacy, which will be informed by identified predictors of growth following a traumatic event.

Increased knowledge of PTG, in cohorts who can be exposed to traumatic events, has the potential to alter mental health trajectories post-trauma, and avert significant and long-term personal, financial and productivity costs associated with trauma-related mental ill-health.


JenniferJennifer is a registered psychologist who commenced work with the Department of Defence in 2001. Between 2001 and 2010 Jennifer undertook the roles of Research Psychologist and Senior Research Psychologist, with responsibility for Personnel Selection Research. She was an Australian representative on The Technical Cooperation Program (a collaborative five-nation forum) between 2004 and 2010.  In 2010, Jennifer commenced in the role of Director Navy Psychology, within Navy Health Services. In this role, Jennifer managed and oversaw the delivery of psychology services and training in Navy, in addition to the development of psychology policy and research programs.

Jennifer commenced a Doctor of Philosophy at the Australian National University in October 2021. She was awarded the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation scholarship in 2023, and has commenced her PhD program fulltime (on secondment from Defence). Related to her work roles in Defence, Jennifer’s PhD research program is examining Post Traumatic Growth, following exposure to a traumatic event.