Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Elizabeth K. Lefler


Secondary traumatic stress (STS) is a type of indirect trauma wherein listening to the traumatic experiences of another causes a stress reaction. STS can lead to PTSD-like symptoms which can develop after only one instance. STS affects mental health professionals at high rates because they have high rates of exposure to traumatic content. In particular, therapists with a personal trauma history have an increased risk of developing STS, as they are more likely to identify with their client’s traumatic experience. This review examines how therapists’ STS severity and frequency is impacted by a personal trauma history. It also identifies workplace factors shown to help reduce severity and frequency STS, such as increasing social support, implementing training techniques, and properly managing therapists’ caseloads. Potential future directions in this area of research are suggested.

Year of Submission



Department of Psychology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (24 pages)