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Published in: American International Journal of Social Science, Vol. 6, No. 1, March, 2017.


The occurrence of Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) is well documented among helping professionals working with trauma clients. These individuals, such as nurses, social workers, rescue workers and mental health counselors, are at risk to succumb to STS after repeatedly hearing or learning of others’ traumas. The primary risk factor for STS is exposure to others’ traumas. Empirical studies have confirmed the presence of STS in the helping professions. However, few researchers have examined whether STS can also occur in laypersons exposed to secondary trauma by media coverage. In the current study, we used a modified version of the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (STSS) to address this question. Our results suggest that media-induced secondary trauma predicts participant expectations of imminent distress.

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