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Vicarious traumatisation in practitioners who work with adult survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse: Literature review and directions for future research

Chouliara, Zo�; Hutchison, Craig; Karatzias, Thanos


Zo� Chouliara

Craig Hutchison


Primary objective: The authors sought to summarise and evaluate evidence regarding vicarious traumatisation (VT) in
practitioners working with adult survivors of sexual violence and/or child sexual abuse (CSA). Methods and selection criteria:
Relevant publications were identified from systematic literature searches of PubMed and PsycINFO. Studies were selected for
inclusion if they examined vicarious traumatisation resulting from sexual violence and/or CSA work and were published in
English between January 1990 and June 2008. Critical analysis and results: Ten studies met the criteria of the present review. In
summary, VT levels in the field of sexual violence/CSA are high with negative effects, but do not appear to exceed those
reported by professionals working with non-sexual violence or with sexual offenders. Further investigation is needed into
predisposing and mediating factors before clear conclusions can be drawn. Conclusions: Previous research has suffered a
number of methodological limitations regarding definitions, sampling, comparison groups, support arrangements and
measurement. These factors compromise not only the rigour and generalisability of findings but also our ability to define VT as
a useful concept. These limitations are discussed and recommendations made for a future research agenda

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2009-03
Deposit Date Mar 2, 2010
Print ISSN 1473-3145
Electronic ISSN 1746-1405
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Pages 47-56
Keywords Applied Psychology; Clinical Psychology; Psychiatry and Mental health
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