The danger of unrealistic optimism: Linking caregivers' perceived ability to help victims of terror with their own secondary traumatic stress

Shaul Shalvi, Geva Shenkman, Michel J.J. Handgraaf, Carsten K.W. de Dreu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined how caregivers' biased perceptions of ability to help traumatized patients relates to the caregivers' secondary traumatic stress (STS). There is reason to believe that caregivers overestimate their ability to help and underestimate their vulnerability to develop STS, but it is unclear how such unrealistic optimism relates to STS. The results show that Israeli caregivers working with terror victims believed that their ability to help traumatic patients is superior to their peers' while their likelihood to be negatively affected by such treatment is lower. Beyond the impact of the number of patients treated and caregivers' experience, unrealistic optimism was positively correlated to caregivers' STS. Theoretical and practical implications for those working with traumatized patients are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2656-2672
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume41
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

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