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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

TOWARDS A TRANSGENERATIONAL TRAUMA ASSESSMENT TOOL**

Abstract

Trauma exposure is common. Moreover, the peak age of trauma exposure in the United States of America is between 16 and 20 years. As a human developmental consideration, adaptation after traumatic exposure depends on one’s developmental stage. Noteworthy, the human brain continues to develop during adolescence and into emerging adulthood, and trauma experiences can influence brain maturation. Significantly, trauma has been associated with poverty, criminality, divorce, mental health and physical health, but trauma responses vary. Given that trauma is a broad concept, there have been calls to focus on specific types of trauma to facilitate comprehension of the multifinality following trauma exposure. Since people between the ages of 12 and 19 are twice as likely as people over the age of 25 to experience a potentially traumatic event, it is reasonable to suggest that many parents may experience trauma prior to their first child’s birth. One specific type of trauma is transgenerational trauma. Transgenerational trauma refers to the transfer of trauma from one generation to the next. Theorists have proposed that trauma may be transferred through biological (epigenetics), family systems (enmeshment), psychodynamic (unconscious) or sociocultural (socialization) mechanisms. Additionally, some take an integrative view, where there are various factors that influence the transmission of trauma from parent to offspring. However, an assessment tool that measures the general concept of transgenerational trauma and considers how localized constructions may influence the transfer of trauma is needed. A quality measure that assesses transgenerational trauma could be used to obtain helpful information to better understand this construct. Hence, research to develop such a tool is in progress. Specifically, a qualitative measure has been developed and data collected from that measure will inform the development of a mixed methods measure. Theories, current findings from the qualitative data obtained and future considerations will be discussed.

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