Indirect Exposure to Violence and Prevalence of Vicarious Trauma in Adolescents
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Adolescents, prevalence, vicarious trauma, indirect exposure


The present study was designed to investigate the prevalence of vicarious trauma in adolescents. Adolescents indirectly experience trauma symptoms through traumatic events happening to others. The present paper focuses on outcomes from a larger research project and investigates the prevalence of vicarious trauma in adolescents. The purposive sample drawn from schools consisted of adolescents between the ages of 14-17 years. They were administered a demographic information form and special questions designed to get information about exposure to a traumatic event; and the Impact of Events Scale-Revised with modifications to time frame. It was assumed that adolescents are experiencing moderate levels of the core symptoms of PTSD. The hypothesis was supported. The study found that 54% of adolescents were experiencing moderate symptoms of vicarious trauma. The rate of exposure to traumatic events was high as 42% adolescents were exposed indirectly to terrorist attacks, target killings, gang wars, and the prevailing situation in the country. Natural disasters affect about 6% of the sample. The impact of national tragedies in the lives of the inhabitants emerged in the present research, as 27% adolescents mentioned air crashes. The results of the study support findings that indirect exposure to violence and traumatic events places adolescents at the risk of developing PTSD symptoms and may necessitate clinical and academic referrals. The implications for further research in the area are immense.

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