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Theoretical Concepts and Mechanisms of Traumatic Stress SIG

Mission

The Theoretical Concepts and Mechanisms of Traumatic Stress SIG was created with the intention of facilitating cross-disciplinary and international discourse that advances theoretically based traumatic stress studies. Theory is central to scientific research and to the process of evaluating, extending and challenging current conceptualizations and mechanisms of traumatic stress. The goal of the traumatic stress theorist is to use empirical evidence to advance theoretically derived concepts that improve our understanding of trauma (basic science) as well as the clinical implications of these findings. In the absence of theory development and critical testing, the field can become stagnant and lost, leaving us swimming in empirical findings without direction. With the advancement of theoretically based studies of reactions to trauma, professionals have begun to improve the way we think of and study concepts like trauma, PTSD and resilience, as well as the mechanisms that contribute to traumatic stress. Through this discourse, this SIG hopes to work collaboratively to generate more theoretical development in our field and improvements in areas such as:

  • Human adaptation to traumatic stress
  • Diagnostic considerations of PTSD and subtypes of PTSD,
  • Mechanisms of traumatic stress adaptation and maladaptation,
  • Construct development,
  • Advanced innovative research methodologies and analytic strategies, and
  • Clinical practice applications.

History

The Theoretical Concepts and Mechanisms of Traumatic Stress SIG was adapted from the Theory of Traumatic Stress Studies SIG, which was created when a group of international researchers gathered at the ISTSS meeting in 2006. These researchers were all interested in advancing theoretically based studies in traumatic stress. Based on this interest, the SIG was established in 2012, and since then has made some significant advances in theoretical work. The accomplishments include a special issue in Trauma Psychology: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, several symposia offered at ISTSS, and discussions for a book. The current name change reflects the expansion and growth of the SIG’s interests. ISTSS members with similar interests are highly encouraged to join the Theoretical Concepts and Mechanisms of Traumatic Stress Special Interest Group.

Co-Chairs

Charles C. Benight, PhD
Director CU: Trauma, Health, & Hazards Center
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
+1-719-255-4180

Jessica Lambert
California State University, Stanislaus
+1-718-541-9147

Student Co-Chair

Shane Adams
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York

Theoretical Concepts and Mechanisms of Traumatic Stress SIG Listserv Address

Members of the Theoretical Concepts and Mechanisms of Traumatic Stress SIG can use the SIG listserv to share information with the full SIG. 
istss-theory-trauma@groups.istss.org