About the special issue
This special issue emerged out of a growing recognition that existing conceptualizations of traumatic stress, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD, may have limited utility in conditions of realistic, ongoing threat and danger.
These concepts assume that trauma exposure (whether it has been a single event or a cumulative series of episodes) is past and finite, that enduring traumatic stress symptoms are maladaptive "false alarms" conditioned by previous experiences, and that recovery entails reworking these "false alarm" responses in a relatively safe current environment.
The special issue revisits the concept of "continuous traumatic stress." Continuous traumatic stress is a term that was originally developed in the 1980s by a group of mental health professionals working in apartheid-era South Africa, who were attempting to provide psychological support to victims of political violence within a context of ongoing state repression.
Continuous traumatic stress offers one possible way of describing the psychological impact of living in conditions in which there is a realistic threat of present and future danger, rather than only experiences of past traumatic events, and foregrounds the difficulties of addressing past exposure in the context of an accurate appraisal of the potential for current and future harm.
Articles in this issue
Understanding and Intervening in Contexts of Ongoing Danger, Violence, and Threat
Opotow, Susan; Luke, Timothy J.
Continuous Traumatic Stress: Conceptual Conversations in Contexts of Global Conflict, Violence and Trauma
Stevens, Garth; Eagle, Gillian; Kaminer, Debra; Higson-Smith, Craig
Part I: Conceptual and Theoretical Dimensions of Continuous Traumatic Stress
Continuous Traumatic Stress: Expanding the Lexicon of Traumatic Stress
Eagle, Gillian; Kaminer, Debra
Nonpathological Response to Ongoing Traumatic Stress
Diamond, Gary M.; Lipsitz, Joshua D.; Hoffman, Yaakov
Exposure to Violence Across Multiple Sites Among Young South African Adolescents
Kaminer, Debra; du Plessis, Bernice; Hardy, Anneli; Benjamin, Arlene
Part II: Psychosocial Impacts of Continuous Traumatic Stress
Relational Trauma in Times of Political Violence: Continuous Versus Past Traumatic Stress
Pat-Horenczyk, Ruth; Ziv, Yuval; Asulin-Peretz, Lisa; Achituv, Michal; Cohen, Sarale; Brom, Danny
Appetitive Aggression and Adaptation to a Violent Environment Among Youth Offenders
Weierstall, Roland; Hinsberger, Martina; Kaminer, Debra; Holtzhausen, Leon; Madikane, Solomon; Elbert, Thomas
Shallow Affect, No Remorse: The Shadow of Trauma in the Inner City
Roach, Christopher B.
Part III: Intervention Strategies to Address Persistent Violence, Danger and Threat
Counseling Torture Survivors in Contexts of Ongoing Threat: Narratives From Sub-Saharan Africa
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Youth Who Experience Continuous Traumatic Exposure
Murray, Laura K.; Cohen, Judith A.; Mannarino, Anthony P.
Community Intervention During Ongoing Political Violence: What Is Possible? What Works?
Mpande, Eugenia; Higson-Smith, Craig; Chimatira, Rodgers Joseph; Kadaira, Abigail; Mashonganyika, Jane; Ncube, Qalani Mike; Ngwenya, Sehlule; Vinson, Gregory; Wild, Robin; Ziwoni, Nhamo
Continuous Traumatic Stress: Personal Reflections 25 Years On