Shared Traumatic Stress among Social Workers in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Carol Tosone, John P. McTighe, Jennifer Bauwens

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    With climate change, social workers and other mental health professionals may find themselves living and working in environments prone to natural disasters. The term shared traumatic stress (SdTS) contains aspects of post-traumatic stress and secondary trauma, and reflects practitioners' dual exposure to collective traumatic events. In an effort to explore and further validate the construct of SdTS, a sample of 244 social workers from New Orleans were studied using path analytic modelling with respect to the personal and professional impact of Hurricane Katrina. Potential risk factors included attachment style, exposure to potentially traumatic life events and enduring distress attributed to Hurricane Katrina. Social workers' resilience was examined for its role in mediating the relationship between these risk factors and SdTS. As hypothesised, insecure attachment, greater exposure to potentially traumatic life events in general and distress related to the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina were predictive of higher levels of SdTS. Insecure attachment and enduring distress attributed to Katrina also significantly predicted lower levels of resilience, though exposure to potentially traumatic life events did not. Resilience was found to mediate the relationship between insecure attachment, enduring distress attributed to Katrina and SdTS but not the relationship between exposure to potentially traumatic life events and SdTS. Implications for theory, research and practice are described.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1313-1329
    Number of pages17
    JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
    Volume45
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

    Fingerprint

    Cyclonic Storms
    social worker
    event
    resilience
    Climate Change
    Disasters
    Mental Health
    Social Workers
    health professionals
    trauma
    Research
    natural disaster
    climate change
    mental health

    Keywords

    • Hurricane Katrina
    • secondary trauma
    • Shared trauma
    • shared traumatic reality
    • shared traumatic stress
    • social worker trauma

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    Shared Traumatic Stress among Social Workers in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. / Tosone, Carol; McTighe, John P.; Bauwens, Jennifer.

    In: British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 45, No. 4, 01.06.2015, p. 1313-1329.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Tosone, Carol ; McTighe, John P. ; Bauwens, Jennifer. / Shared Traumatic Stress among Social Workers in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In: British Journal of Social Work. 2015 ; Vol. 45, No. 4. pp. 1313-1329.
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