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generational trauma, trauma


Anyone can have generational trauma, but some populations are more vulnerable to it because of their history. Trauma alone is when an experience affects one physical, mental, and/or emotional health. Some examples of the effects would be anxiety, depression, anger issues, behavior problems, eating disorders, and much more. Generational trauma is when this trauma is passed down from one generation to another. So, it may not have happened to the individual but someone from a generation before.

Since the trauma isn’t with the individual it can be hard to diagnose. However, taking their life back at home into account can help. Some examples of populations that can be seen in our children and/or grandchildren of holocaust survivors, Asian families that were affected by the catastrophes such as the tsunami, Native Americans, and African Americans from the years of torture/mistreatment. These examples can be found in our history, but generational trauma can also be situations such as drug addictions, child abuse, neglect, and much more. After discovering if one suffers from this is to find a treatment.

The best way would be therapy. Different types of therapy could help such as “therapy”, parent-child interaction therapy, child-parent therapy, family play therapy, family systems therapy, or working through a genogram/family tree.

More education should be given to the general population on this issue. Multiple books have recently come out that explains this and let the reader know they are not alone or helpless. Physical health has been the main focus for some time in our healthcare system but with mental and emotional health being brought to attention more awareness can be brought as well.

First Advisor

Becky Wolff

Research Area

Health Sciences