Areas of Study


Vicarious traumatization is the pervasive and cumulative effect on an individual that results from working with traumatized individuals due to having an empathic connection with these individuals (McCann & Pearlman, 1990).

Vicarious traumatization is understood as the changes a professional experiences in his or her inner world due to the cumulative effect of exposure to a client’s traumatic material (Pearlman & Saaktvine, 1995). This phenomenon is an occupational hazard that has been found to affect human service providers (Pearlman & Saaktvine, 1995; Hammerslough, 2005).

Sign language interpreters are not exempt from the pervasive effects of vicarious traumatization (Harvey, 2001; Harvey, 2015; Barreto Abrams, 2018). Interpreters work in trauma-influenced settings where both hearing and deaf consumers may discuss traumatic content, affecting the interpreter’s life in personal and occupational contexts (Barreto Abrams, 2018).

This study is an expansion of a pilot study and a pre-dissertation project that investigated the effects of vicarious trauma in sign language interpreters. This study will sample interpreters’ vicarious trauma and coping strategies through well-established psychometric measures.

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Vicarious Trauma in Interpreters

Helen Thumann



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