Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Kevin Jackson, Timothy Hanna, and Melissa Lemons; Kari O'Grady, Ph.D.

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The Effects of Traumatic Events on Fostering Spirituality

An increased interest in the effect of traumatic events and their impact on personal spirituality has led to the development of many new, innovative therapeutic interventions. The results of several empirical studies have produced promising encouragement illuminating the significant associations between spirituality and religiosity's impact at lessening the broad reaching effects of single and continued traumatic events. In this study, qualitative methods doctoral students seek to analyze first person existential and phenomenological reflections of a significant lived trauma in the life of each subject to determine if there is any relationship between the traumatic experience and increased spiritual awareness and perceptible spiritual change. Using NVivo research software to analyze each participant reflection, we examined the responses to eight (8) semi-structured narrative interview questions posed to eight (8) adults. Participants shared their reflections of a trauma or traumatic event that occurred within the past five years in terms of changes in their self perception, relationship with God, and connections to others. Participants of this study indicated a keen, actualized awareness of transcendence with emerging themes of increased self-perception, awareness of God, and connection to others.