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February 2013Vol. 14, No. 1Secondary Traumatic Stress

Child welfare workers, therapists, case managers, and other professionals working with children who have experienced trauma can suffer from emotional duress after hearing about firsthand trauma experiences. This emotional toll, which can affect professional functioning and quality of life, is called secondary traumatic stress and its symptoms mimic those of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The National Child Traumatic Stress Network published Secondary Traumatic Stress: A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals. The factsheet defines secondary traumatic stress, explains how it relates to similar conditions, and describes how it can affect the lives of the professionals involved in the care of traumatized children and families.

The factsheet is divided into six sections:

  • How individuals experience secondary traumatic stress
  • Understanding who is at risk
  • Identifying secondary traumatic stress
  • Strategies for prevention
  • Strategies for intervention
  • Worker resiliency in trauma-informed systems: Essential elements

Readers will also find a list of various symptoms related to secondary traumatic stress, and a list of resources for information on managing this type of stress.

Secondary Traumatic Stress: A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals is available on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website: (724 KB)