Social Work and Psychology: A Comparative


Over the few decades, children and adolescents have increasingly become victims of traumatic life events. By definition, a traumatic event is one that subjects a person to injury, death, or disability. It is also defined as that event that threatens the physical integrity of an individual or a group of people. Traumatic events are usually associated with terror, helplessness, and horror when they occur. Among the most notable traumatic events include sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, community and school violence, and medical trauma. Others are motor accidents, genocide, acts of terrorism, war experiences such as combat, suicide, natural and man-made disasters, and other traumatic losses. In the United States, close to five million children and adolescents experience some form of trauma annually. Millions of others continue to suffer in terrorizing environments dominated by domestic violence and parental abuse. Many are reluctant to report their ordeals for fear of social discrimination and embarrassment. Undoubtedly, adverse effects are associated with various forms of traumatic events. Among the most noticeable are altered physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development in the affected persons. At times, the effects are so immense such that they may in turn affect other people including close family members, immediate neighbors, the community, and ultimately everyone. Because of the immense outcomes of the traumatic experiences and their effects on the affected persons, there has been a dire need in the recent years to study the subject of trauma and the various approaches that can be used to address its effects. Various scholars have taken the matter into their hands with the intention grasping wider contents and knowledge on how to address the problem. In this assignment, we refer to two works entitled Trauma Theories and Disorders by Kathryn Basham and Psychological Aspects of Traumatic Injury in Children and Adolescents by Ernesto Caffo and Carlota Belasie. The intention of the paper is to conduct a comparative analysis of the two works, which primarily address the subject of traumatic experiences among various groups of people, especially children and adolescents. It will compare and contrast the perspectives of authors regarding the subject. 

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Summary of the Works

Basham’s Trauma Theories and Disorders 

Basham is has conducted a far-reaching study of traumatic life events and relates them to the existing theories, as well as eminent psychological disorders. Basham notes in her work that traumatic experiences have been a part of people’s lives throughout history. However, starting the 1970s, there was a wider awareness creation on traumatic experiences and their effects. Usually, such experiences emerge from both natural and human causes. Natural causes include natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and destructive tsunamis that constantly hit continents. Traumatic experiences may also emerge from interpersonal violence between people, and within their families and communities. Similarly, unsolved political, economic, and religious conflicts may result in acts of terrorism and warfare in different parts of the world, and which subjects the affected persons to first-hand trauma. As observed through the years, people who experience trauma life events may develop a range of mental and physical health problems. The outcomes may be worse when people fail to accept the reality and enormity of the traumatic events. 

As the chapter concludes, Basham presents a useful insight into dealing with the results of traumatic events, and how we should handle affected persons. Basham addresses the bio-psycho-social-spiritual contexts through which people can understand trauma better. She offers a wide range of responses that can be used to handle traumatic events on partners, children, and adolescents. She also makes us aware of the need to mind the well-being of affected people, especially those that are additionally burdened by poverty, ill health, and a stigmatized social identity. 

Caffo & Belaise’s Psychological Aspects of Traumatic Injury in Children and Adolescents 

Caffo and Belasie appreciate the fact that starting the 1970s, there were constant efforts by various special lobby groups to promote awareness about the prevalence of post-traumatic symptomatology among the affected victims such as rape victims, war veterans, and battered women. More progress was realized in the 1980s with the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, trauma was viewed with more emphasis in the field of psychology and psychiatry. Today, there is a range of traumatic studies based on various trauma causing incidences such as natural disasters and accidents such as hurricanes and tornadoes. They also look into human-caused disasters such as transportation accidents, toxic spills, and human perpetrated acts such as sexual assault, genocide, and physical relocation due to war and social upheavals among others. The authors note that trauma can occur in various big or small groups or even individuals. Some people may experience trauma by experiencing others being traumatized. Whiles traumatic experiences can be well controlled through various approaches, the resilience and the ability of the children to recover depends largely on the basic human protective systems in their favor. 

Comparing and Contrasting the Works


The works show a great degree of similarity in addressing the subject of trauma. Caffo and Belaise and Basham respectively present information that impact similar findings. Firstly, both works have recognized the fact that there have been continued efforts on awareness creation on the prevalence of post-traumatic symptomatology. As such, they agree that people are day after day gaining in-depth knowledge on the problem and how they can avoid it. Besides, they agree that the effectiveness of awareness programs is influenced by the social forces that support or discourage an acknowledgment on the impacts on individuals, families, and communities. Secondly, the two works can be compared based on their perspectives on the reality of the problem. They harmoniously agree to the fact that traumatic experiences affect various groups of people regardless of age, gender, and social class. Traumatic life experiences affect a person’s social, cognitive, and physical development, which subsequently lead to severe post-traumatic disorders and psychological problems. Overall, such experiences lead to an impaired daily life. 

Finally, both works touch on the approaches to trauma and stress. Notably, both have focused on the strength-based resilience approach. They argue that adapting well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or other sources of stress is a key approach to recover from trauma and stress. However, the effectiveness of resilience is influenced by how supportive social systems are.  


No substantial difference is observable from the two articles. Nevertheless, while Basham’s is a scholarly quantitative research article, Caffo and Belaise’s is a clinical-based research and quantitative article. They may be directed to diverse audiences, but the message home is highly identical. 

Personal View

Based on the previous studies I have conducted on the topic, I agree with both the works, Trauma Theories and Disorders by Kathryn Basham and Psychological Aspects of Traumatic Injury in Children and Adolescents, on the subject of trauma and trauma life experiences and how they can be addressed. Even though traumatic studies are relatively few and young, the works in this context have incorporated much of what is already known in a different perspective.  The articles are useful resources that can significantly support a more detailed study on the theme herein. 


The paper has conducted a comparative analysis of two works entitled Trauma Theories and Disorders by Kathryn Basham and Psychological Aspects of Traumatic Injury in Children and Adolescents by Ernesto Caffo and Carlota Belasie. Both address the subject of the increasingly prevalent trauma and its effects. The paper has realized that both works have a common approach to the subject as they show a great deal of similarities on the reality of the problem and the approaches that can be used to deal with it. 

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