A lifespan developmental science perspective on trauma experiences in refugee situations

Document Type


Publication Date



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Publication Title

Advances in Life Course Research


Developmental science theory and empirical research on refugee situations requires an updated approach to the study of trauma as a multi-systemic and multilevel phenomenon. We present a theoretical framework that integrates developmental science approaches to highlight critical threats to development in situations of violent displacement. Given the complexities of displacement (causes, trajectories, and living circumstances once displaced), this theoretical model highlights the utility of an approach that recognizes the person-age-context fit in which displaced individuals live their lives and how both trauma and ongoing major disruption to daily life affects outcomes. In so doing, we aim to broaden understanding for future trauma and intervention research as well as practice with those who experience potentially traumatic events and severe disruption to their social ecology at different points in the lifespan.

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