Emprical research showed that socio-demographic characteristics such as age, gender, income, and social support are related with PTG.
Several studies examining the relationship between the development of PTG and age, consistently demonstrated a negative association between them (Polatinsky & Esprey, 2000; Evers, Kraaimaat, van Lankveld, Jongen, Jacobs, & Bijlsma, 2001). According to the results of a meta-analytic review, age was negatively correlated with benefit finding and growth (Helgeson, Reynolds, &Tomich, 2006). These findings were supported by the results of the study conducted with veterans of operations enduring freedom (OEF) showing that younger veterans reported more growth than elders (Pietrzak, Goldstein, Malley, Rivers, Johnson, & Morgan, 2010). Consistently, being younger was related to greater traumatic growth among Jews exposed to terrorist attacks in Israel (Hobfoll, Canetti-Nisim, Johnson, Palmieri, Varley, & Galea, 2008). Furthermore, the results of the research investigating the relationship between PTG and individual characteristics in motor vehicle accident perpetrators, demonstrated that older individuals developed lower PTG than youngers (Merecz, Waszkowska, & Wezyk, 2012). Thus, several research studies in the literature found that as age increases posttraumatic growth scores decreases.
Gender is another factor, which is found to be related to PTG. Park et al. (1996) found that females reported more PTG than males. The findings of Linley and Joseph (2004) supported these findings. Similarly, among survivors of the Madrid train bombing, female survivors showed more PTG than males (Val & Linley, 2006).
In Turkey, there are more male drivers than female drivers. In agreement with this fact, in the trauma literature males have been reported to be more exposed to motor vehicle accidents than females (Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü, Trafik Hizmetleri Başkanlığı, 2014; Frommberger, Stieglitz, Nyberg, Schlickewei, Kuner, & Berger, 1998). Harms and Talbot (2007), in their research on road trauma survivors, showed that males were less likely than females to report total score of PTG and its domains especially, relating to others and spiritual change. Similarly, in a study conducted with motor vehicle accident survivors, it was indicated that females reported more growth than males (Merecz et al., 2012).Therefore, although males are more exposed to motor vehicle accidents, females seem to experience more PTG.
According to the findings in the literature, social support was a facilitating factor in developing PTG (Park et al., 1996; Weiss, 2004; Prati & Pietrantoni, 2009; Pietrzak et al., 2010; Senol-Durak & Ayvasik, 2010). Likewise, in their study conducted with rheumatoid arthritis patients, Dirik and Karanci (2008) found that perceived social support of participants significantly predicted total score of PTG. The results of the study conducted by Dong, Gong, Jiang, Deng, and Liu (2015) also supported these findings by revealing that perceived social support was a strong predictor of PTG.
Research on the factors associated with PTG, revealed that personality characteristics also have an important influence on the development of PTG in the aftermath of traumatic experiences. Studies investigating the relationship between personality traits and PTG often indicated a positive relationship between extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness and a negative relationship between neuroticism and negative valence and PTG (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996; Karanci, Işıklı, Aker, Gül, Erkan, Özkol, & Güzel, 2012; Wang, Wang, Wang, Wu, & Liu, 2013). In order to develop Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), Tedeschi and Calhoun (1996) conducted a study with 604 individuals with a history of different types of traumatic events including injury-producing accidents. In their study, they found out that agreeableness, openness to experience, extraversion, and conscientiousness were positively associated with the total score of PTG. In terms of the PTG domains, extraversion was significantly related to all of the PTG domains. Moreover, individuals who were open to new experiences reported higher levels of new possibilities and personal strength. Relating to others domain was positively related to agreeableness whereas; personal strength was positively associated with conscientiousness. Furthermore, Karanci et al. (2012) found that conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience were significantly related to the total score and domains of PTG. Conscientiousness and agreeableness were related to spiritual change and appreciation of life domains. Additionally, agreeableness and openness to experience were significantly related to the domain of relationship with others. The relationship between personality and PTG in traffic accident survivors has been studied in very few studies. Wang et al. (2013) investigated the predictors of PTG in motor vehicle and workplace accident survivors. The findings indicated that individuals who are open to new experiences reported more total PTG and growth in all of the domains. Moreover, agreeableness was significantly related to the appreciation of life domain. Extraversion was found to be a significant predictor of the domain of personal strength. In addition to the predictors that were positively related to PTG, the results of the research study focusing on myocardial infarction patients revealed that neuroticism was negatively associated with PTG (Garnefski, Kraaij, & Schroevers, 2008).