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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Reducing the potential for secondary trauma in research: a protocol to build researcher wellbeing into the research process

Skinner, Tina, Bloomfield-Utting, Jade, Geoghegan-Fittall, Sophie, Roberts, Nicola, Sweetland, Saffy and Taylor, Helen (2023) Reducing the potential for secondary trauma in research: a protocol to build researcher wellbeing into the research process. In: Research Ethics Conference, 6-7 Jul 2023, University of Bath. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Research ethics procedures have substantially improved over the last three decades, such that university ethics committees now adopt independent peer review as well as providing guidance and standardized template documentation (e.g. consent forms). Despite this, researchers’ wellbeing is often overlooked. This is particularly concerning when researching topics, such as sexual violence, death, war and homelessness, that may cause secondary trauma for the researcher.

The British Psychological Society (2020) state that the symptoms of secondary trauma are alike to the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder felt by a victim-survivor of a direct traumatic event and can be experienced at any time in a research project, including whilst conducting interviews, coding quantitative/qualitative data, reviewing the literature or during policy campaigning. Symptoms of secondary trauma include intrusions (e.g., distressing thoughts), avoidance (e.g., of possible threats), increased arousal/reactivity (e.g., limited
concentration/sleep), and alterations in cognitions/mood (e.g., withdrawal, negativity).

This in person workshop aims to develop participants:
● Knowledge of secondary trauma
● Understanding of when/how secondary trauma may affect researchers
● Awareness of how funders, institutions, supervisors, line managers, and researchers can work together to reduce the potential of secondary trauma in researchers

The workshop will involve 2 x 60 min sessions. In the first session I draw on our chapter (Skinner et al, forthcoming), written with researchers I have worked with over the last 20 years, to: discuss with participants what secondary trauma linked to research is and how it might arise, talk candidly about our own experiences and needs as researchers/supervisors, and outline a protocol for moving forward ethically to help maintain researcher wellbeing. In the second session workshop participants will get the opportunity to participate in group discussions and try out tools (e.g. formulating your own wellbeing plan) to help them think about whether their research has/could cause secondary trauma and how to might mitigate this.

Full text not available from this repository.

More Information

Depositing User: Nicola Roberts


Item ID: 16328
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Nicola Roberts: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2023 09:14
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 09:14


Author: Nicola Roberts ORCID iD
Author: Tina Skinner
Author: Jade Bloomfield-Utting
Author: Sophie Geoghegan-Fittall
Author: Saffy Sweetland
Author: Helen Taylor

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology

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