Types of Trauma
Trauma and traumatic events can happen in many different ways. Below are some definitions and examples of how trauma can happen.
- This type of trauma only happens once. An example of this is a car accident.
- This type of trauma is a series of events that happens over a period of time. An example of this is the COVID pandemic.
- This type of trauma happens in early childhood. It is usually chronic. An example of this is having cancer and being in the hospital for many months at 5 years old.
- This type of trauma is caused by someone you have a relationship with. An example of this is being physically abused by a parent or caregiver.
- This is when someone has many different types of trauma events. An example of this is someone whose parents divorced when they were kids, saw a family member get into a bad car accident, and was physically abused by a caregiver when they were a teenager.
- This is when trauma responses are passed down across generations by people who experienced a trauma. This can include a trauma that effects one individual, multiple family members, or an entire community. Examples of this are slavery and the Holocaust.
Specific examples of traumatic events include:
- Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, or tornados.
- Accidents like car accidents or fires.
- Abuse including physical, mental, or sexual.
- Death of a loved one or close friend.
- Medical events like surgery or chronic illness.
- School events like bullying or school shootings.
- Community events like riots or high crime levels.
- Interpersonal events like domestic violence.
- Wars and genocide like the Holocaust.
- Human trafficking.
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.