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Predictors of secondary trauma in sexual assault trauma counselors.

15 Aug
Predictors of secondary trauma in sexual assault trauma counselors.
Eighty-nine sexual assault trauma counselors were evaluated for psychological distress and secondary or vicarious PTSD. The study also examined whether personal trauma history, greater counseling experience, primary placement in emergency room work, general counseling satisfaction levels, or any other demographic variables made a significant difference in the amount and intensity of distress and PTSD-like symptoms in the counselors. Results showed that personal trauma history and younger age significantly predicted psychological distress. And personal trauma history, younger age and lower counseling satisfaction levels significantly predicted higher levels of secondary or vicarious PTSD. Contrary to expectation, exposure to trauma survivors, emergency room work as primary client contact type, and education were not relevant to amount of distress or PTSD. The findings held up even when the counselors in psychotherapy or taking medication were excluded in the follow-up analyses.

Citation: Ghahramanlou M, Brodbeck C. Predictors of secondary trauma in sexual assault trauma counselors. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 2000 Fall;2(4):229-40.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award