Preventing Secondary Traumatic Stress in Educators

Published in: Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, v. 24, no. 2, Apr. 2015, p. 319-333

Posted on RAND.org on April 14, 2015

by Stephen Hydon, Marleen Wong, Audra K. Langley, Bradley D. Stein, Sheryl H. Kataoka

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Teachers can be vulnerable to secondary traumatic stress (STS) because of their supportive role with students and potential exposure to students' experiences with traumas, violence, disasters, or crises. STS symptoms, similar to those found in posttraumatic stress disorder, include nightmares, avoidance, agitation, and withdrawal, and can result from secondary exposure to hearing about students' traumas. This article describes how STS presents, how teachers can be at risk, and how STS can manifest in schools. A US Department of Education training program is presented, and thoughts on future directions are discussed.

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