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Q+A: Can Addressing Childhood Trauma Help Prevent PTSD Among Violence Victims?

Two men talk on the front steps of a rowhome
Photo credit: Andrew Huth for Mighty Engine

August 15, 2022

As many communities across the country struggle with rising violence, a team of researchers from Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health took a unique approach to better understand the experiences of victims of urban violence in Philadelphia.

In their study, recently published in the Journal of Urban Health, they talked to 147 adults who were victims of violence in the city to understand how prior childhood trauma could put someone more at risk for PTSD symptoms after experiencing violence.

The team found a strong link between adverse childhood experiences and odds of experiencing PTSD symptoms following an attack.


Lead author Loni P. Tabb, PhD, an associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, discussed why addressing poor environmental factors associated with violence, as well as the trauma experienced from adverse childhood experiences – such as abuse, neglect, or violence — may help treat victims of violence and convince them not to retaliate.

Read the Q+A with Dr. Tabb on the Drexel News Blog

This paper supports the benefits of the work of Healing Hurt People, the flagship program at Drexel's Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice. The program delivers trauma-focused healing through evidence-based therapy, supportive case management, and peer services to survivors of violent attacks, and to those who are exposed to violence.