Female receptivity and secondary traumatization in the family

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Abstract

This paper addresses the question of gendered receptivity to Secondary Traumatic Syndrome (STS) in the family. Unlike other manifestations of distress in the family, where gender comparisons are a matter of course, very few such comparisons are made in studies of STS. Review of the findings of 12 studies, the only studies, to date, that provide data enabling the comparison of STS in males and females, shows that females in the family, whether daughters, wives, or mothers, are consistently more likely than the males, whether sons, husbands, or fathers, to experience the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms of a traumatized family member without having experienced the traumatic event itself. This pattern pertains to whether the event that precipitated the primary trauma was a collective or individual trauma and whether the STS sufferer was a child or adult or living or not living with the PTSD casualty. The Discussion points out that gender is an important factor in the development of STS, whether in interaction with role, beyond role, or both.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-238
Number of pages14
JournalFamily Process
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Family relations
  • Gender differences
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Parent-child relations
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Secondary traumatization

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