Young people's experiences after traumatic or negative events: a qualitative exploration
This study explores the responses of young people to traumatic or difficult events, who have not sought help from the mental health services. Literature in trauma bas tended to concentrate on those who suffer a pathological reaction. However, there are many young people who undergo traumatic events who do not develop a psychiatric disorder. This group is not often studied and we know little about their reaction to these events. In this study, a qualitative methodology was used to explore the experiences of six young people who fe lt they bad an undergone a traumatic of difficult life experience. This approach included an acknowledgement of the researcher's own views and their effect in the study. Each young person was interviewed and the transcripts were analysed using Grounded Theory (Struss and Corbin, 1998). Four categories emerged from the data. These were: impact of the event, processing the event, managing the impact and developmental aspects. The event appeared to have a serious impact on the young people's lives although they did not feel it was in their thoughts at the present time. In the aftermath of the event, young people appeared to be engaged in processing the event and protecting themselves from being overwhelmed. This group appeared to have the flexibility to move between integration and protection, and also the ability to use a range of coping strategies. It was suggested that processing may not be a linear process that reaches a natural end point. This was discussed in terms of clinical work and the expectations therapists and clients have of the therapeutic process.