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Vol 18, No 3 (2021)
Research paper
Published online: 2021-03-03
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Negative and positive effects of secondary exposure to trauma among medical personnel - the role of social support

Nina Jolanta Ogińska-Bulik1
Psychiatria 2021;18(3):196-205.


Introduction: Social support is included among the factors determining the occurrence of negative and positive
effects of secondary exposure to trauma in professionals working with people after traumatic experiences. The aim
of the research was to determine the role of social support from various sources in the occurrence of symptoms
of secondary stress and growth after trauma in the group of medical personnel exposed to secondary trauma.

Material and methods: The analysis included the results obtained from 185 representatives of medical
personnel, including paramedics (64.9%) and the nursing team (35.1%) who worked directly with the injured
or suffering. Most of the respondents were women (56.8%). The age of the respondents was in the
range of 20–65 years (M = 42.41, SD = 8.92). The research used a questionnaire developed for the purpose
of the study and three standard measurement tools, i.e. the Secondary Traumatic Stress Inventory, the Secondary
Posttraumatic Growth Inventory and the Social Support Scale — What support can you count on?

Results: The obtained research results indicated a high intensity of secondary stress and moderate intensity of
secondary growth after trauma in the examined group of medical personnel. Social support is primarily associated
with secondary growth after the trauma. Support from the family plays a protective role for secondary stress.
In turn, the factor conducive to the occurrence of secondary growth is primarily the support from co-workers.

Conclusions: Developing the ability to perceive and use social support can contribute to reducing the negative
and promoting the positive effects of secondary exposure to trauma.

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