Social support moderates association between posttraumatic growth and trauma-related psychopathologies among victims of the Sewol Ferry Disaster

Kyu Man Han, Ji Young Park, Ha Eun Park, So Ra An, Eun Hee Lee, Ho-Kyoung Yoon, Young-Hoon Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Disasters have numerous harmful effects on the mental health status of trauma-exposed people. We investigated the differences in the association between trauma-related psychopathologies and posttraumatic growth according to the perceived social support level among victims of the Sewol Ferry disaster on April 16, 2014, in South Korea. Data from 241 bereaved family members, survivors, and family members of survivors were used. The Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire, Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, PTSD Checklist-5, Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorder Self-Rating Scale, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 were used to evaluate perceived social support, posttraumatic growth, and trauma-related psychopathologies. We found that the severity of depression and anxiety showed inverse correlations with posttraumatic growth only in the low-social support group, while they did not demonstrate significant correlations in the high-social support group. The social support level had correlations with posttraumatic growth and the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder and posttraumatic embitterment disorder only in female respondents. Furthermore, there was a mediation pathway from social support level to posttraumatic growth through depressive symptoms. This study explored the complex relationship between social support, posttraumatic growth, trauma-related psychopathologies, and gender among trauma-exposed individuals in the aftermath of the Sewol Ferry disaster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1



  • Depression
  • Perceived social support
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Sewol Ferry disaster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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