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Abstract

Railroad engineers work in a profession where the probability of being involved in a critical incident, including derailments, collisions and near misses, as well as other fatalities and suicides on the tracks are likely to occur (Weiss & Farrell, 2006). According to Napper, 1998, the average train driver will be involved in three fatal accidents during a 25-year career. Recently, several studies have been conducted investigating Post Traumatic Growth (PTG), or the occurrence of a positive change or attitude in the individual following exposure to traumatic events, however; no studies to date specifically address PTG as a concept applicable to those in the transportation industry exposed to work related trauma. Recent research suggests that positive cognitive processing (Linley & Joseph, 2004; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004;), personality variables extraversion and openness to new experiences (Dorfel, Rabe, & Karl, 2008;), and social support (Regehr, et al., 2007) have the potential to influence the emergence of PTG. The overall purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the negative and positive effects of traumatic events on railroad workers. In order to better understand the effects of trauma, it is a logical next step to study personality factors, social support, and cognitive coping combined in a regression analysis to sort through the relative contribution of these variables to the occurrence of growth and other consequences.

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