Racial Trauma & PTSD Reading List
Race Matters in Understanding Mental Health and Trauma
Research documents that many members of minority groups fear, or feel ill at ease with, the mental health system.
I have been contacted many times by students, therapist, and researchers seeking scholarly work on racial trauma, PTSD and cultural diversity, historical and cultural trauma, and related materials. Here are some specific articles that address this issue that have been published in the academic literature. Many of these papers demonstrate the very long-lasting effects of oppression, institutionalized racism, and violence on individuals, and others are trauma readings with cultural diversity focus.
Butts, H. F. (2002). The Black mask of humanity: Racial/ethnic discrimination and post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal American Academy of Psychiatry Law, 30(3), 336-339.
Carter, R. T. (2007). Racism and Psychological and Emotional Injury: Recognizing and Assessing Race-Based Traumatic Stress. The Counseling Psychologist, 35(1), 13-105.
Carlson, M. D., Endsley, M., Motley, D., Shawahin, L. N., & Williams, M. T. (2018). Addressing the impact of racism on veterans of color: A race-based stress and trauma group. Psychology of Violence, 8(6), 748-762. doi: 10.1037/vio0000221
Helms, J. E., Nicholas, G., & Green, C. E. (2012). Racism and Ethnoviolence as Trauma: Enhancing Professional and Research Training. Traumatology, 18, 65-74.
Holmes, S. C., Facemire, V.C., & DaFonseca, A.M. (2016). Expanding Criterion A for posttraumatic stress disorder: Considering the deleterious impact of oppression. Traumatology, 22(4), 314-321.
Kira, I. A. (2010). Etiology and treatment of post-cumulative traumatic stress disorders in different cultures. Traumatology, 16(4), 128-141. doi:10.1177/1534765610365914
Williams, M. T., Metzger, I., Leins, C., & DeLapp, C. (2018). Assessing racial trauma within a DSM-5 framework: The UConn Racial/Ethnic Stress & Trauma Survey. Practice Innovations, 3(4), 242-260. doi: 10.1037/pri0000076
Measures and Assessment
Bosson, R., Williams, M. T., Schlaudt, V., Carrico, R., Peña, A., Ramirez, J., & Kanter, J. (2017). Evaluating mental health in Cuban refugees: The role of the Refugee Health Screener-15. Journal of Refugee & Global Health, 1(1), 15-23. doi: 10.18297/rgh/vol1/iss1/4.
Carter, R.T., & Sant-Barket, S.M. (2015). Assessment of the impact of racial discrimination and racism: How to use the race-based traumatic stress symptom scale in practice. Traumatology, 21(1), 32-39.
Malcoun, E., Williams, M. T., & Nouri, L. B. (2015). Assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder with African Americans. In L. T. Benuto, B. D. Leany (Eds.), Guide to psychological assessment with African Americans (pp. 163-182). New York, NY, US: Springer Science + Business Media. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-1004-5_11
Sawyer, B., Williams, M.T., DeLapp, R. C. T., & Davis, D. M. (2016). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. In A. Breland-Noble, C. S. Al-Mateen, & N. N. Singh (Eds.), Handbook of Mental Health in African American Youth (pp. 237-247). Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-25501-9.
Snipes, C. (2013). Assessment of anxiety with Hispanics. In L. T. Benuto (Ed.), Guide to Psychological Assessment with Hispanics (pp. 153-162). New York, NY, US: Springer Science + Business Media. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-4412-1_11
Williams, M. T. (2019, February 13). Uncovering the Trauma of Racism. APA Journals Article Spotlight. American Psychological Association.
Williams, M. T., Pena, A., & Mier-Chairez, J. (2017). Tools for assessing racism-related stress and trauma among Latinos. In L. T. Benuto (Ed.), Toolkit for Counseling Spanish-Speaking Clients. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-64880-4. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-64880-4_4
Williams, M. T., Printz, D., & DeLapp, R. C. T. (2018). Assessing racial trauma in African Americans with the Trauma Symptoms of Discrimination Scale. Psychology of Violence, 8(6), 735-747. doi: 10.1037/vio0000212
Comas-Díaz, L. (2016). Racial trauma recovery: A race-informed therapeutic approach to racial wounds. In Alvarez, A.N. (Ed); Liang, C. T. H. (Ed); Neville, H. A. (Ed), The cost of racism for people of color: Contextualizing experiences of discrimination. Cultural, racial, and ethnic psychology book series (pp. 249-272). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
Kira, I. A., Amer, M. M., & Wrobel, N. H. (2014). Arab refugees: Trauma, resilience, and recovery. In S. C. Nassar-McMillan, K. J. Ajrouch, J. Hakim-Larson, S. C. Nassar-McMillan, K. J. Ajrouch, J. Hakim-Larson (Eds.), Biopsychosocial perspectives on Arab Americans: Culture, development, and health (pp. 175-195). New York, NY, US: Springer.
Laban, C. J. (2015). Resilience-oriented treatment of traumatised asylum seekers and refugees. In M. Schouler-Ocak (Ed.), Trauma and migration: Cultural factors in the diagnosis and treatment of traumatised immigrants (pp. 191-208). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-17335-1_13
Miller, A., Williams, M. T., Wetterneck, C. T., Kanter, J., & Tsai, M. (2015). Using functional analytic psychotherapy to improve awareness and connection in racially diverse client-therapist dyads. The Behavior Therapist, 38(6), 150-156.
Saleem, F. T., Anderson, R. E., & Williams, M. T. (2020). Addressing the "myth" of racial trauma: Developmental and ecological considerations for youth of color. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 23(1), 1–14. doi: 10.1007/s10567-019-00304-1
Williams, M. T., Printz, D., Ching, T., & Wetterneck, C. T. (2018). Assessing PTSD in ethnic and racial minorities: Trauma and racial trauma. Directions in Psychiatry, 38(3), 179-196.
Williams, M. T., Malcoun, E., Sawyer, B., Davis, D. M., Bahojb-Nouri, L. V., & Bruce, S. L. (2014). Cultural Adaptations of Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Treatment and Prevention of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in African Americans. Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 4(2), 102-124.
Other Useful Readings (research and theory)
Bierer, L. M., Bader, H. N., Daskalakis, N. P., Lehrner, A. L., Makotkine, I., Seckl, J. R., & Yehuda, R. (2014). Elevation of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 activity in Holocaust survivor offspring: Evidence for an intergenerational effect of maternal trauma exposure. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 481-10. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.06.001
Ching, T. H. W., Lee, S., Chen, J., So, R., & Williams, M. T. (2018). A model of intersectional stress and trauma in Asian American sexual and gender minorities. Psychology of Violence, 8(6), 657-668. doi: 10.1037/vio0000204
Comas-Dıaz, L., & Jacobsen, F. M. (2001). Ethnocultural Allodynia. Journal of Psychotherapy Practice & Research, 10(4), 246-252.
Hays, P. A. (2009). Integrating evidence-based practice, cognitive–behavior therapy, and multicultural therapy: Ten steps for culturally competent practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40(4), 354-360.
Kanter, J. W., Santiago-Rivera, A. L., Santos, M. M., Nagy, G., López, M., Hurtado, G. D., & West, P. (2015). A randomized hybrid efficacy and effectiveness trial of behavioral activation for Latinos with depression. Behavior Therapy, 46(2), 177-192. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2014.09.011
Kirkinis, K., Pieterse, A. L., Martin, C., Agiliga, A., & Brownell, A. (2018). Racism, racial discrimination, and trauma: a systematic review of the social science literature. Ethnicity & Health. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2018.1514453
Kohlenberg, B. S., Tsai, M., & Kohlenberg, R. J. (2006). Functional Analytic Psychotherapy and the Treatment of Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. In V. M. Follette, J. I. Ruzek, V. M. Follette, J. I. Ruzek (eds.), Cognitive-behavioral therapies for trauma (2nd ed.) (pp. 173-197). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.
Pole, N., Gone, J., & Kulkarni (2008). Posttraumatic stress disorder among ethnoracial minorities in the United States. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 15(1), 35-61.
Williams, M. T., Reed, S., & Aggarwal, R. (2020). Culturally-informed research design issues in a study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Psychedelic Studies. doi: 10.1556/2054.2019.016
Collins, R. D. (2007). The Trauma Zone. Chicago: Moody Publishers. ISBN-13: 978-0802489890
DeGruy, J. (2005). Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome. Uptone Press. ISBN 978-0963401120
Menakem, R. (2017). My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. Las Vegas: Central Recovery Press. ISBN-13: 978-1942094470
Nadal, K. L. (2018). Microaggressions and Traumatic Stress: Theory, Research, and Clinical Treatment. American Psychological Association.
Williams, M. T., Rosen, D. C., & Kanter, J. W. (2019). Eliminating Race-Based Mental Health Disparities: Promoting Equity and Culturally Responsive Care Across Settings. New Harbinger Books. ISBN: 978-1-68403-196-2
Racial Trauma Articles for a General Audience
DeLapp, R.C.T. & Williams, M. (2016, July). Proactively Coping With Racism. Psychology Today.
Williams, M. (2015, September). The Link Between Racism and PTSD. Psychology Today.
Williams, M. (2015, August). Understanding Race-Based Trauma. University of Louisville Med School Newsletter.
Institution for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture. Racial Trauma is Real Infographic. Boston College.
SAMHSA. African Americans and Mental Health.
Janssen, S. Racial Trauma in African American Underuse of Hospice & Palliative Care. Social Work Today
Racial Trauma Articles in the Media
Turner, E. (2019, March 5). Surviving in a Racist Society: Racial Trauma and African Americans. The Breakdown Podcast.
Janikian, M. (2019, September 2). MDMA for Racial Trauma. Double Blind.
Shockman, E. (2016, July 30). What does racism do to your health? Science Friday. NPR & GlobalPost/PRI.
Harrison, M. (2016, July 25). Can racism cause post-traumatic stress disorder? The Louisiana Weekly [New Orleans].
Flatow, I. (2016, July 15). The Health Costs of Racism [public radio]. Science Friday. NYC: NPR
Alfaro, J. (2016, July 22). After the Violence and Videos, Therapists Learn to Treat Racial Trauma. YES! Magazine.
Love, D. (2016, June 3). PTSD and Mental Health Disorders in Black People Linked to Trauma From Racism and Violence. Atlanta Blackstar.
The New York Times, Racism's Psychological Toll, interview by Jenna Wortham, June 24, 2015
Medical Daily, Changes In DSM-5: Racism Can Cause PTSD Similar To That of Soldiers After War by Nadia-Elysse Harris, May 23, 2013
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