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Vicarious Traumatization and Secondary Traumatic Stress Among Foster Parents: Three Case Studies

18 April 2008


In this study, a longitudinal, single-case research design was implemented to examine the development of vicarious traumatization and secondary traumatic stress in new foster parents over their fIrst six months of fostering. The impact of a history of traumatic events and social support on the development of these constructs was also studied. Three participants completed questionnaires, including the Trauma and Attachment Belief Scale (McCann & Pearlman, 1990), Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (Bride, Robinson, Yegidis, & Figley, 2003), Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire (Kubariy et aI., 2000), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian (Weathers, Litz, Herman, Husak, & Keane, 1993), and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet and Farley, 1988). The participant who experienced the most number of her own traumatic events reported the highest levels of vicarious traumatization and secondary stress. Additionally, a significant development in vicarious traumatization only occurred with a foster parent who was trying to adopt. Implications for these findings are discussed.


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