Although clinicians can experience both traumatic stress and posttraumatic growth following primary and secondary exposure to traumatic events, there are inconsistencies in the professional literature as to whether a history of personal trauma serves as a risk factor. This present study examined 244 clinicians living and working in a post-Katrina environment. Using structural equation modeling, clinician’s trauma histories and primary and secondary traumatic stress were assessed in relationship to posttraumatic growth. It was expected that a greater number of traumatic life events would be related to higher levels of traumatic experience and growth. It was also expected that traumatic life experience would be associated with growth. Contrary to expectation, the initial evaluation of the path coefficients showed no significant paths between primary trauma and growth. A revised model was then refit with the inclusion of 2 latent variables, which yielded a better fit. The results showed that a greater number of traumatic life events were related to both primary and secondary traumatic stress but not growth. The latent variables revealed a statistically significant relationship between re-experiencing, which related to greater growth in 1 domain. Implications for theory development, clinical practice and policy, and future research are discussed.
- Hurricane Katrina
- Posttraumatic growth
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Secondary trauma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health