The concept of “psychological trauma” conflates emotional responses to traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, muggings, and house fires, responses to natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and responses to war, chronic physical abuse, prolonged torture, and repeated gang‐rape as an act of “ethnic cleansing.” It is argued that, from a psychological, human, and moral perspective, use of a single construct to describe responses to such a range of horrific happenings makes no sense. The benefits and limits of conceptualizing PTSD as a unifying concept for describing psychological responses to calamitous events are discussed. The consequences (with respect to clinical work, research, and social policy) of failing to distinguish between responses to relatively circumscribed traumatic events, more extreme, prolonged, or repeated individual traumatization, and collectively experienced mass violence against entire communities are examined.
Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2003