Homeostasis Versus Growth: A View of Their Roles in Adaptation to Adversity, Trauma, Chronic Illness, and Physical Disability. Part II: Integrative Views, Unifying Postulates, and a Preliminary Model

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Psychological Trauma-Theory Research Practice and Policy

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The primary goal of this two-part paper is to familiarize readers with a conceptual contrast (some may argue inconsistency or duality) inherent in the process of human adaptation to adversity, trauma, and the onset of disabling conditions. The two contrasting viewpoints include, first, the belief that the adaptation process is best understood through adherence to the notion of homeostatic (or equilibrium-like) principles that underlie human behavior. The opposing view, alternatively, promotes the belief that this process typically follows a trajectory of either disintegration or, more likely, growth, transformation, and transcendence into higher functioning levels. In this second paper, an attempt is made to elucidate and reconcile, when possible, this conceptual lacuna. In Part I of this paper the following steps were applied. First, the concept of homeostasis is reviewed as it is traditionally conceived in both the context of physics and biology, as well as in psychology and human behavior. The review includes historical and modern perspectives on the nature and dynamics of homeostasis. Second, an overview of growth and transcendence models, in the fields of psychology and human behavior, is provided. Discussed are both early contributions to the field and modern perspectives. In the present, second, paper, applications of growth and transcendence models to the domain of coping with adversity, trauma, and the onset of disabling conditions are discussed. Next, a preliminary conceptual model of adaptation, and its underlying postulates, seeking to integrate the homeostatic and growth models into a dynamically unified concentric model, while preserving each of the two models' main structural components, is offered. Part II concludes with relevant research directions necessary to validate the model's preliminary structure. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)


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