Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Robert H. Pietrzak


Little is known about the positive psychological changes or posttraumatic growth (PTG) in response to the pandemic as the COVID-19 vaccines has become widely available. This longitudinal study aimed to characterize changes in the prevalence of pandemic-related PTG, and to identify and quantify the relative importance of PTG correlates pre-pandemic, 1- year peri-pandemic, and 2-years post-pandemic onset. A total of 2,441 U.S. military veterans completed Wave 3 assessment of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. In the full sample, a significant decrease from peri-pandemic to 2-years post-pandemic onset was observed in overall pandemic-related PTG and four domains of PTG (appreciation of life, relating to others, personal strength, spiritual changes). Among veterans who screened positive for pandemic-related posttraumatic stress symptoms, the prevalence of pandemic-related PTG was markedly higher and did not change from peri-pandemic to 2-years post-pandemic onset. Greater pre-pandemic PTG (personal strength and new possibilities) and greater worries about the effect of pandemic on one’s mental health were the strongest correlates of pandemic-related PTG 2-years post-pandemic onset. Results suggest that psychosocial interventions to bolster PTG in relation to early life traumas may help facilitate PTG in response to the pandemic and subsequent stressors.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/10/2024