Work-related Secondary Traumatic Stress   [open pdf - 301KB]

This article on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) discusses the controversy of terminology in the field in terms of "worker-related stress." From the article: "The great controversy about helping-induced trauma is not 'Can it happen?' but 'What shall we call it?' After reviewing nearly 200 references from PILOTS [Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress], Psychlit, Medline, and Social Sciences Index, it is apparent that there is no routinely used term to designate exposure to another's traumatic material by virtue of one's role as a helper. Four terms are most common: 'compassion fatigue' (CF); 'countertransference' (CT); 'secondary traumatic stress' (STS); and 'vicarious traumatization' (VT). [...] There is a rapidly growing literature on the risks, reactions, and prevention of harm from exposure to another's traumatic material by virtue of a professional relationship with the primary victim. There is a small but cohesive body of ethics literature. The empirical literature regarding emergency service personnel is quite well developed, and the empirical literature about health care providers is growing. Other professions are lagging behind, but show promise of developing an expanded awareness of the problem. One continuing difficulty is the dilemma of nomenclature. At this point, there is no consistent or truly satisfying language to describe the phenomenon. Perhaps one area of research could be developing operational definitions of the terms used to describe the costs of caring."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
Media Type:
PTSD Research Quarterly (Spring 1997), v.8 no.2
Help with citations