Vicarious traumatization: Symptoms and predictors

Doukessa Lerias, Mitchell K. Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Having to intervene in severe crises or bearing witness to human tragedy, can take its toll on the individual (Erickson, Vande Kemp, Gorsuch, Hoke & Foy, 2001; Lind, 2000; Lugris, 2000). These effects can include severe, debilitating anxiety that persists for months and sometimes even years following the event. Because these people are not directly involved in the event, their distress often goes undetected (Brady, Guy, Poelstra & Brokaw, 1999; Motta, Joseph, Rose, Suozzi & Leiderman, 1997). Support resources for people who are indirectly affected by a traumatic event are limited. To date, a history of previous trauma, previous psychological well-being, social support, age, gender, educational achievement, socio-economic status and styles of coping have been highlighted as mediating the effects of indirect exposure to a traumatic incident. Understanding this phenomenon and the mechanisms precipitating such distress is an important step in providing appropriate help for a large number of people indirectly affected by tragic events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalStress and Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


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