Heightened susceptibility to secondary traumatization: A meta-analysis of gender differences

Nehami Baum*, Giora Rahav, Michal Sharon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although secondary traumatization has been extensively studied, gender difference in susceptibility has received limited attention. This study addressed the issue by a meta-analysis of published findings on male and female persons in close, extended relationships with trauma victims, namely, their spouses, parents, children, and therapists. The analysis included peerreviewed studies, written in English and published between 1990 and January 2012. Twelve studies reporting 17 findings on 1,623 subjects were identified. All the studies showed females' higher susceptibility to secondary traumatization, with a mean effect size of 0.48 (95% CI [0.35, 0.60]). Moderator analysis revealed that studies conducted in the United States reported lower gender discrepancies than studies conducted elsewhere. The consistent finding that females are considerably more susceptible to secondary traumatization than males means that professionals must be made aware of the special vulnerability of girls and women and help them adopt ways of caring for the traumatized family member or clients while maintaining their own psychological boundaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


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