Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Altmaier, Elizabeth M

First Committee Member

Ansley, Timothy

Second Committee Member

Johnson, Susan R

Third Committee Member

Keffala, Valerie

Fourth Committee Member

Kivlighan, D Martin


The purpose of this study was to assess for posttraumatic growth (PTG) in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study also sought to determine the relationship between PTG and mindfulness for people with RA. RA is a degenerative disease characterized by chronic joint pain and is associated with various kinds of psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. More recently, researchers have looked to ways in which living with RA may also promote personal growth. One of the most commonly researched conceptualizations of growth following hardship is posttraumatic growth (PTG). Some studies suggest that PTG may be positively related to mindfulness, such that people who are more mindful also experience more growth following adversity. The present study examines the extent to which people report experiencing growth as a result of living with RA, as well as participants’ levels of trait or dispositional mindfulness. Descriptive data are presented for all gathered data and the relationship between PTG and mindfulness was examined. Results of this study suggested that people with RA report moderate levels of PTG as a result of navigating this difficult disease. Findings also indicated no significant relationship between PTG and trait mindfulness for this sample of people with RA. Both PTG and trait mindfulness were significantly related to participants’ pain severity, however. The results of this study add to a small body of literature suggesting that people with RA do experience PTG. Understanding the correlates of PTG following RA will help physicians and psychologists maximize opportunities for positive adjustment above and beyond premorbid levels of functioning for those living with RA. This study’s findings also point to the importance of continuing to investigate the relationship between PTG and mindfulness.


vii, 77 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-77).


Copyright © 2017 Anna Hoffman