The question that the literature review conducted as part of the study by Berman (2016) was trying to answer is “What is the connection between trauma and identity?”. The main hypothesis of this study is that trauma can affect identity, and the latter, in turn, can shape people’s perceptions of their traumatic experiences (Berman, 2016, p. 2). The sample populations of the cited research included refugees, adults who had lost their only child, survivors of genocide, war, and environmental disasters. Literature review was used as the design of Berman’s study, and the variables utilized included scales that measured factors such as event centrality, the sense of self, and the severity of traumatic experiences. The results of the study have confirmed the hypothesis about trauma’s effects on identity. However, identity has also been revealed to act as a moderator or mediator between traumatic events and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. According to the author, these results mean that identity can either minimize or increase negative effects of the trauma. When identity is affected by trauma as a mediator, it can lead to either distress or growth.
The main question asked in the study conducted by Crossley is “How can the narrative psychology perspective be applied to the study of trauma and its effect on the self?”. Thus, the study’s hypothesis suggests that “human life can be characterised as bearing within it a narrative structure” (Crossley, 2000, p. 528). The study design used was the literature review, and the variables included measuring the sense of identity, meaningfulness, and coherence. Since this study was primarily based on theoretical research, there were no sample populations except for the individuals affected by traumatic experiences. The results of the study support its hypothesis, claiming that individual phenomenological experience always projects backwards and forwards in relation to the sense of identity, meaningfulness, and coherence (Crossley, 2000). This perspective offers a view on life that present it as a constant flux. According to the author, these findings suggest that disruption and fragmentation resulting from trauma are useful in highlighting the sense of identity. Furthermore, when incoherence prevails, the narrative structures can help to rebuild an individual’s sense of self.
Berman, S. L. (2016). Identity and trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & Treatment, 5(2), 1-3.
Crossley, M. L. (2000). Narrative psychology, trauma and the study of self/Identity. Theory & Psychology, 10(4), 527-546.