Secondary traumatic stress among alcohol and other drug workers

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There is a growing literature documenting the high prevalence of trauma exposure and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among people with alcohol and other drug (AOD) use disorders. Indeed, in this population trauma exposure is almost universal and up to one-third have current PTSD. Studies have shown that individuals who are involved in the assessment and treatment of traumatised clients may be at risk of secondary traumatic stress (STS). STS has been described as particular behaviours, emotions and stress that result from helping or wanting to help traumatised individuals. STS has been referred to as an occupational hazard for those working with trauma survivors, however, limited research has been conducted in the area. To our knowledge only one US study has examined STS among the AOD workforce. They found that 19% of the AOD workers they assessed met criteria for current STS. While STS has been explored among the AOD workforce in the US, the degree to which it is suffered by AOD workers in Australia is unknown. The aims of the study are to address two research questions:

  1. 1) What is the prevalence of secondary traumatic stress (STS) among AOD workers in Australia?
  2. 2) What factors are associated with the presence of STS and its severity (e.g., professional experience and training; a personal history of trauma exposure and PTSD)?
Project Status
Completed Projects
Contact
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Ms Philippa Ewer
Research Officer
Investigators
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Program Director; Director of Treatment Research
Ph +612 9385 0253
image - P. Ewer Photo
Ms Philippa Ewer
Research Officer

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