Vicarious Trauma in Interpreters

ID: 3656
School: TBD
Program: TBD
Status: Completed
Start date: May 2019
End Date: July 2020


Vicarious traumatization is the pervasive and cumulative effect on an individual that results from working with traumatized individuals due to having an empathic connection with these individuals (McCann & Pearlman, 1990). Vicarious traumatization is understood as the changes a professional experience in his or her inner world due to the cumulative effect of exposure to a client's traumatic material (Pearlman & Saaktvine, 1995). This phenomenon is an occupational hazard that has been found to affect human service providers (Pearlman & Saaktvine, 1995; Hammerslough, 2005). Sign language interpreters are not exempt from the pervasive effects of vicarious traumatization (Harvey, 2001; Harvey, 2015; Barreto Abrams, 2018). Interpreters work in trauma-influenced settings where both hearing and Deaf consumers may discuss traumatic content, affecting the interpreter's life in personal and occupational contexts (Barreto Abrams, 2018). This study is an expansion of a pilot study and a pre-dissertation project that investigated the effects of vicarious trauma in sign language interpreters. This study will sample interpreters' vicarious trauma and coping strategies through well-established psychometric measures.

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Barreto Abrams, J., Pick, L., & Corbett, C. (2019, November) Vicarious trauma in sign language interpreters: Exploring interpreters’ experiences of working in trauma-influenced environments. In Qualitative Approaches to the Study of Stress. Presented at the Work, Stress and Health Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Barreto Abrams, J.O. (2020). Vicarious Trauma as a Psychosocial Occupational Hazard in the Field of Sign Language Interpreting. (Publication No. 28029372) [Doctoral dissertation, Gallaudet University]. Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global.