Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Secondary traumatic stress, Social workers-Psychology, Vicarious traumatization, Novice social workers, Smith College. School for Social Work-Students


This descriptive study was undertaken in order to determine if novice Master's of Social Work graduates were aware of the concept of vicarious traumatization. This study defines inexperienced social workers as those with zero through three (0-3) years field practice post graduation. This study asked the following research questions: How familiar are recent Masters of Social Work graduates with the term vicarious traumatization? What do they know about vicarious traumatization? Where and when did they learn about vicarious traumatization? Participants were recruited by the snowball data collection technique by contacting a professional network of colleagues in person and by e-mail. Forty-nine respondents completed a semi-structured survey accessed at The majority of respondents were Caucasian females and had attended Smith College School for Social Work. The findings of the research showed that the majority of the respondents were aware of the concept and definition of vicarious traumatization. The majority of the respondents reported they learned about vicarious traumatization during their graduate programs and most of the respondents reported an understanding of the symptomology that a person experiencing vicarious traumatization may present.




iii, 76 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 28-29)