Secondary Traumatic Stress Reactions: A Review of Theoretical Terms and Methodological Challenges



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University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work


The field of traumatology, particularly the study of secondary traumatic stress reactions, is a relatively new area of scientific inquiry which often presents methodological issues with the reliable measurement of this concept (Figley, 2002). The literature in this area lacks a universally-accepted definition describing a secondary traumatic stress reaction. Secondary traumatic stress, vicarious traumatization and compassion fatigue are currently used interchangeably in the literature when describing this phenomenon. The need to establish clarity regarding the construct validity of these terms is one of the most pressing methodological issues in this area. This paper provides a review of the concepts in the literature describing secondary traumatic stress reactions and a discussion of the differences between these concepts.



Perspectives on Social Work, Jason M. Newell, Secondary Traumatic Stress Reaction, Perspectives on Social Work, Social work, Secondary traumatic stress