Race-Based Stress and Intergenerational Trauma
While race-based stress and intergenerational trauma have been known to Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color for centuries, their importance is finally being acknowledged in the research around and treatment of traumatic stress.
Race-based stress is a type of identity-based stress—toxic stress that can lead to pre-traumatic stress, trauma, and long-term negative health and mental health outcomes. For Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, race-based stress is caused by discriminatory, hateful, othering, ostracizing, abusive, and violent experiences related to their race or perceived race. Race-based stress can be caused by a single event, a series of events, ongoing circumstances, or witnessing others with similar identities experience harmful events—either in person or in the media.
Intergenerational trauma refers to traumatic stress that accumulates over time and passes through generations. It is caused by pervasive, ongoing abuse and violence toward BIPOC communities, such as colonization, slavery, and police violence. It can contribute to long-term negative health outcomes for BIPOC individuals, families, and communities.
BIPOC people are already known to experience abuse, violence, and trauma at higher rates than white individuals. Understanding race-based stress, intergenerational trauma, and how they layer on top of other stressors and traumas is critical to providing culturally appropriate, trauma-informed services to advance the health of BIPOC people. BIPOC communities have been building intergenerational resilience to combat race-based stress and intergenerational trauma for centuries. At the community level, changemakers should support the deep-rooted work BIPOC communities are already doing to build intergenerational resilience.
To learn more, browse the resources below or continue reading the Intro to Traumatic Stress Series.
Related Resources: Race-Based Stress
Related Resources: Intergenerational Trauma and Resilience
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