Vicarious trauma: a comparison of clinicians who treat survivors of sexual abuse and sexual offenders

J Interpers Violence. 2004 Jan;19(1):49-71. doi: 10.1177/0886260503259050.


This study compared vicarious trauma in a random sample of male and female clinicians who treat survivors (n=95) and those who treat offenders (n=252). A national survey was conducted with members of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) and the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC). These data were used to test the relative contribution of variables theorized to contribute to two vicarious trauma effects (avoidance and intrusions) using the Impact of Event Scale. The sample reported high levels of avoidance and intrusions. Variables associated with vicarious trauma differed based on client population served. Sequential regression analyses were used to examine theoretically derived variables. Implications for practice and further research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Allied Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Allied Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychology, Clinical
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Offenses / psychology*
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Survivors / psychology*