Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 3–23 | Cite as

An ecological view of psychological trauma and trauma recovery

  • Mary R. Harvey


This paper presents an ecological view of psychological trauma and trauma recovery. Individual differences in posttraumatic response and recovery are the result of complex interactions among person, event, and environmental factors. These interactions define the interrelationship of individual and community and together may foster or impede individual recovery. The ecological model proposes a multidimensional definition of trauma recovery and suggests that the efficacy of trauma-focused interventions depends on the degree to which they enhance the person-community relationship and achieve “ecological fit” within individually varied recovery contexts. In attending to the social, cultural and political context of victimization and acknowledging that survivors of traumatic experiences may recover without benefit of clinical intervention, the model highlights the phenomenon of resiliency, and the relevance of community intervention efforts.

Key words

psychological trauma ecological perspective recovery resiliency 


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Copyright information

© International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary R. Harvey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryThe Cambridge Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolCambridge

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