Traumatic re-enactment of childhood and adolescent trauma : a complex developmental trauma perspective in a non-clinical sample of South African school-going adolescents.
Exposure to interpersonal violence during childhood has been found to be associated with various form of traumatic re-enactment. In addition to subjective re-experiencing symptoms (e.g., flashbacks) various forms of behavioural re-enactment have been identified in the literature including: Revictimisation (in terms of which survivors go on to subsequently experience further victimisation), Perpetration (in terms of which survivors go on to subsequently victimise others), and Self-Injury (in terms of which survivors go on to subsequently harm or injure themselves). This study constitutes a seminal attempt to explore all three of these forms of behavioural re-enactment in a sample of 802 adolescents attending a high school in the greater Durban area of KwaZulu-Natal-South Africa. Specific aims of the research were to: (a) examine prevalence rates for exposure to developmental trauma in the study sample, (b) explore incidence rates for traumatic re-enactment behaviours in the study sample, (c) identify risk factors for traumatic re-enactments, and (d) explore comorbidities between traumatic re-enactment behaviours and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Complex Development Trauma outcomes. Study findings indicate that: (a) both developmental trauma experiences and traumatic re-enactment behaviours were common in the study sample, (b) re-enactment behaviours are most strongly predicted by traumatic antecedents, and (c) traumatic re-enactment behaviours appear to be somewhat distinct from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Developmental Trauma outcomes, in terms of both risk factors and comorbidity rates. These findings are discussed vis-à-vis their implications for theory, practice, and further research.
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