12 Types of Trauma

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

1. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
Such abuse can be perpetrated by a caregiver, community member, a family member, an intimate partner, a friend, classmate, or a stranger (i.e., bullying).

2. Neglect
This refers to a failure on the part of an adult to provide for a child’s basic physical, medical, educational, and emotional needs.

3. An unstable or unsafe environment
Can include lack of housing, food, medical care, unsafe sleeping, etc.

4. Domestic violence
Occurs when a child is the recipient and/or the witness of physical, sexual, or psychological violence by someone in the victim’s domestic circle.

5. Interpersonal violence or victimization
When someone is the victim of assault or rape, for example.

6. Community violence
Refers to gang violence, riots, or school shootings.

7. Natural disasters
Includes events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and deadly or severe storms.

8. Terrorist attacks
A surprise attack involving the deliberate use of violence against civilians in the hope of attaining political or religious aims.

9. Loss of a loved one
Occurs when someone is separated from a caregiver or is confronted with the sudden death of a caregiver, a sibling, or a close friend/family member.

10. Accidents or medical trauma
Includes severe injuries caused by a car accident, for example, an accident associated with the practice of a sport, or dealing with a life-threatening illness.

11. Divorce
Can also be considered a major life event and also can be traumatic for some.

12. Racial trauma – or race-based traumatic stress
The mental and emotional injury caused by encouters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. It has been observed in numerous Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and in people of all ages, including young children.