Advances in Systemic Trauma Theory: Traumatogenic Dynamics and Consequences of Backlash as a Multi-Systemic Trauma on Iraqi Refugee Muslim Adolescents


Development in adolescence puts youth in direct contact with social systems, thereby increasing exposure to systemic traumas. The present article aims to advance systemic trauma theory as part of a new development-based trauma framework (DBTF). It examines discrimination and backlash against Muslim Americans as an example of a multi-systemic trauma to investigate its mental health ramifications. Measures of cumulative trauma, backlash trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, Adolescent Psychopathy Scales (APS), annihilation anxiety, and cumulative trauma disorders were administered to 224 Iraqi refugee adolescents. Partial correlation and hierarchical multiple regression results indicated that backlash was associated with the most negative mental health outcomes as compared to other trauma type seven after controlling for overall life trauma. The validity and utility of the proposed theoretical framework and the clinical implications of negative mental health effects of multi-systemic traumas on refugee adolescents were discussed.

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Kira, I. , Lewandowski, L. , Chiodo, L. & Ibrahim, A. (2014). Advances in Systemic Trauma Theory: Traumatogenic Dynamics and Consequences of Backlash as a Multi-Systemic Trauma on Iraqi Refugee Muslim Adolescents. Psychology, 5, 389-412. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.55050.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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