The term trauma originates from ancient Greek τραῦμα, meaning “wound.” The first clinical definition of traumatic experience emerged more than 30 years ago, when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III), formulated it as a direct exposure to a stressor that would be significantly disorganizing to almost everyone. The definition of trauma has since broadened. The DSM-5 describes it as exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence that can be direct, witnessed, or learned as occurring to a family member or close friend. Repeated exposure to horrific details of such events is also traumatic. Because of its clinical and social implications, the definition of trauma is the subject of ongoing debate. This entry presents types of traumas, ...

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