The Psychology of Trauma

The Psychological Impact of Trauma

What factors in the event increase the risk of getting PTSD?

Not everyone will get PTSD after a trauma. There are many different kinds of traumas, and different people respond to the same event in different ways. A number of factors within the trauma affect the risk of developing PTSD. Whether the trauma was natural or man-made, and whether the human-induced trauma was accidental (e.g., a car accident) or intentional (e.g., a mugging) all affect a person’s response. The more intentional, the more disturbing. Naturally the severity of the trauma is very important. How much danger was involved? How much physical pain was suffered? How much violence? Did anyone die? All these questions influence the impact of the trauma. The duration of the trauma is important as well—was it quick or did it last over time? Whether the trauma was a one-time event or ongoing (e.g., a mugging vs. a war) also factors in. Longer, more chronic, more severe, and intentionally malicious traumas cause greater psychological damage than shorter, milder, single-episode, and unintentional traumas.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Psychology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App