A Conceptual Model of Historical Trauma: Implications for Public Health Practice and Research
Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 93-108, Fall 2006
15 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2009
Date Written: Fall 2006
Historical trauma theory is a relatively new concept in public health. The premise of this theory is that populations historically subjected to long-term, mass trauma-colonialism, slavery, war, genocide-exhibit a higher prevalence of disease even several generations after the original trauma occurred. Understanding how historical trauma might influence the current health status of racial/ethnic populations in the U.S. may provide new directions and insights for eliminating health disparities. This article offers an analysis of the theoretical framework of historical trauma theory and provides a general review of the literature. A conceptual model is introduced illustrating how historical trauma might play a role in disease prevalence and health disparities. Finally, implications for public health practice and research are discussed.
Keywords: historical trauma theory, racial/ethnic health disparities, minority health, American Indian/Alaskan Native, public health, social epidemiology
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