An Introduction to Trauma and Health

  • Megan R. GerberEmail author
  • Emily B. Gerber


This chapter will provide critical background on interpersonal trauma, how it became conceptualized as a harmful exposure and public health issue, and a discussion of the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences, which illustrates the impact on health of early traumatic exposures. Next, we include a brief overview of the proposed pathways and mechanisms through which trauma results in poor health and health disparities. Interpersonal trauma may result in posttraumatic stress disorder which is a known mediator of adverse health effects. Next, the definitions, nature and prevalence of some common examples of interpersonal trauma are reviewed; these include childhood maltreatment, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, community violence, human trafficking, and historical trauma. This chapter identifies the ubiquitous nature of traumatic experiences and lays the ground work for clinicians and healthcare systems to better understand the need for trauma-informed care and the role it can play in promoting health and healing for individuals and communities.


Interpersonal trauma Trauma-informed care Child abuse Childhood maltreatment Intimate partner violence Sexual assault Human trafficking Historical trauma 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of General Internal MedicineBoston University School of Medicine, Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  2. 2.Kaiser PermanenteSan RafaelUSA

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