Creative Research Medal 2011
Brian Bride, associate professor of social work, is a leading authority on secondary traumatic stress, a phenomenon in which those close to victims of post-traumatic stress experience the same negative images, thoughts, and physical and mental symptoms. The syndrome occurs among a significant number of human services professionals — social workers, substance abuse counselors, child and family case workers — and also in families of combat veterans.
Though secondary traumatic stress was vaguely recognized for many years, Bride’s research brought it front and center. He developed a standardized instrument, the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale, to document the prevalence and severity of secondary traumatic stress, which is associated with lower job satisfaction and high staff turnover. Thanks to Bride’s work, the syndrome is today acknowledged as a very real occupational hazard for those who provide clinical, educational, and supportive services to traumatized populations.