12 Types of Trauma

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

#1 Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse

Such abuse can be perpetrated by a parent, 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

This 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

Occurs 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

This includes events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or 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

This occurs when someone is separated from a parent or is confronted with the sudden death of a parent, a sibling, or a close friend/ family member.

#10 Accidents or medical trauma

This includes severe injuries caused by a car accident, for example, or an accident associated with the practice of a sport, or dealing with a life-threatening illness.

#11 Divorce

This can also be considered a major life event and also can be traumatic for some.

#12 Racial Trauma / Race-based traumatic stress

This is the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. It has been observed in numerous BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) communities and people of all ages, including young children.