Adding Trauma-Informed Care at a Bereavement Camp to Facilitate Posttraumatic Growth: A Controlled Outcome Study

  • Irene Searles McClatchey Kennesaw State University
  • Rachel Francis Raven Kennesaw State University
Keywords: Posttraumatic growth, trauma-informed care, childhood bereavement, bereavement camp, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms


Background: Studies on posttraumatic growth (PTG) among bereaved youth are rare; outcome studies on how to facilitate PTG among this population are even more scarce. Objectives: This study examined the addition of trauma-informed care to bereavement interventions to foster PTG in youth attending a weekend-long bereavement camp. Method: A total of 105 participants completed standardized measures of posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic stress disorder after which 52 of the participants took part in a camp session. Ninety-five of the participants from both groups were post-tested four weeks after the camp session. Results: Multiple Regression showed that PTG scores were significantly greater at posttest for the treatment group. No significant changes in PTSD were found in either group, although the presence of dissociative symptoms decreased significantly among campers in the treatment group. Conclusions: Findings suggest trauma-informed care may increase posttraumatic growth among youth coping with loss. Implications for future studies and clinical practice are discussed

Author Biographies

Irene Searles McClatchey, Kennesaw State University

Irene Searles McClatchey, Ph.D., LCSW, is an associate professor and the Director of the Master’s of Social Work Program at Kennesaw State University. She is the Founder of Camp MAGIK, a healing camp for bereaved children; first held in 1995 it is now serving 200+ children and their families a year.

Rachel Francis Raven, Kennesaw State University

Rachel Raven graduated with her MSW from Kennesaw State University in 2016 with a children and family services specialization. While completing the Master's program at KSU, Rachel served as a graduate research assistant for multiple professors. She has worked in various clinical settings with children including pediatric nephrology and hopes to expand her professional knowledge and expertise through further endeavors with grieving youth.


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