Assessing Racial Trauma Within a : The UConn Racial/Ethnic Stress & Trauma SurveyDSM–5: The UConn Racial/Ethnic Stress & Trauma Survey Framework: The UConn Racial/Ethnic Stress & Trauma Survey

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Abstract

Many ethnic minority groups experience higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to their European American counterparts. One explanation for this is the differential experience of racism, which can itself be traumatic. This article aims to provide a theoretical basis for the traumatizing nature of various forms of racism within the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ framework for PTSD. PTSD caused by racism, or racial trauma, is likely to be underrecognized due to a lack of awareness among clinicians, discomfort surrounding conversations about race in therapeutic settings, and a lack of validated measures for its assessment. We review the literature and existing measures for the assessment of racial trauma and introduce the UConn Racial/Ethnic Stress & Trauma Survey (UnRESTS), a clinician-administered interview. The UnRESTS is useful to clinicians as an aid to uncovering racial trauma, developing a culturally informed case conceptualization, and including experiences of racism in the diagnosis of PTSD when warranted. Three case examples that describe the impact of racial stress and trauma and the role of the UnRESTS in understanding the experiences of those impacted by racism are included.

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