Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Stephen Shirk, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Karen Mallah

Third Advisor

Arthur Jones

Fourth Advisor

Daniel McIntosh

Fifth Advisor

Maria Riva


Qualitative, Trauma, Youth


During adolescence, peers become increasingly important sources of social support for youth. In addition to discussing the trials and tribulations of daily life, it is possible that youth are having intimate conversations concerning their experiences of trauma. This study examined the types of traumatic experiences disclosed to youth by their friends, youth's experiences of supporting a friend following disclosure of trauma, youth's secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions to their friends' disclosures, and potential risk factors for the development of STS. The validity of an adult measure of STS, the Secondary Trauma Scale, with an adolescent population was also explored. Utilizing qualitative and quantitative research methods, 60 youth (ages 11-16) participated in a semi-structured interview and completed questionnaires. Results suggest the preliminary validity of the Secondary Trauma Scale for use with adolescents. Additionally, increased levels of positive and negative affect were associated with increased levels of STS and general traumatic distress. Furthermore, females reported more general posttraumatic symptomatology than males, while youth indirectly exposed to a friend's interpersonal trauma reported more symptoms of STS compared to youth indirectly exposed to a friend's noninterpersonal trauma. Implications for the development of programs to educate youth about peer helping and self-care strategies are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Lindsay E. Smart


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

111 p.


Clinical psychology