Vicarious post-traumatic growth in professionals exposed to traumatogenic material: A systematic literature review

Alexandra Tsirimokou*, Juliane A. Kloess, Sonia K. Dhinse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Repeated exposure to traumatogenic material as part of work with traumatised individuals can have detrimental effects on professionals’ well-being. Growing research has explored this phenomenon, known as ‘vicarious traumatisation’. Nevertheless, little research has focused on the positive effects of this work on professionals, namely, ‘vicarious post-traumatic growth’. This literature review aims to identify existing research demonstrating mental health professionals’ experiences of growth, along with environmental and personal factors that facilitate this growth. Eight qualitative and seven quantitative articles were identified following a systematic search of six electronic databases and assessed for their quality using standardised checklists. Qualitative studies were assessed using the Quality Appraisal Checklist for Qualitative Studies (NICE, 2012), and quantitative studies were assessed using the Appraisal Tool for Cross-Sectional Studies (Downes et al., 2016). Professionals described changes in the way they view themselves, the value they place on their relationships and their appreciation for life. Important organisational factors and personal traits were identified as significant predictors for professionals’ growth. Our findings have the potential to inform practical recommendations and directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalTrauma, Violence and Abuse
Early online date29 Apr 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Apr 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • vicarious trauma
  • traumatisation
  • vicarious post-traumatic growth
  • mental health professionals
  • professionals’ well-being


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