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August 6, 2003

Posttraumatic Symptoms and the Complexity of Responses to Trauma

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Community-University Health Care Clinic, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 2003;290(5):667-670. doi:10.1001/jama.290.5.667

Several articles in this issue of THE JOURNAL highlight the increasing appreciation of the complexity, ubiquity, and inescapability of both personal and indirect exposure to trauma and violence.1-5 Trauma, variously defined, is an integral part of the human condition. Most of the world has already known this, in many cases firsthand. Whatever illusions of a tranquil life the more fortunate segments of US society may have had prior to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11 terrorist attacks, a different awareness of individual and collective vulnerability has been instilled in the US consciousness. This awareness has been expanded to consider the psychological consequences of the "routine" violence that occurs daily in less dramatic form—routine and less dramatic, that is, except for those most immediately affected.