Getting a better understanding of children's and families' beliefs about the cause and meaning of trauma and traumatic stress symptoms, and integrating them into care, can enhance culturally-sensitive trauma-informed assessment and intervention.
Culturally Competent Pediatric Trauma Care
Although there is a universal biological response to trauma, cultural factors can influence the biopsychosocial experience of trauma and subsequent traumatic stress reactions. Ethnocultural factors play an important role in children's and families':
- Vulnerability to trauma and traumatic stress
- Expression of distress and trauma symptoms
- Response to trauma treatment
- Help-seeking behaviors
- Communication with and between family members
- Willingness to disclose psychosocial information to providers
In providing culturally competent trauma care, health care providers should:
- Recognize the cultural variations in the perception of trauma and traumatic stress responses.
- Ask children and families about what the trauma means to them, and incorporate these beliefs in assessment and treatment.
- Listen to and integrate the child or family's own terms for what they are experiencing.
- Understand how your helping role is perceived and family dynamics and decision-making.
- Be open to including kinship networks and other types of healing professionals or practices that the family views as helpful.
- Remember and respect that some children's and families' interpretations, experiences, and practices my differ from your own.
The cultural considerations component of the D-E-F protocol helps providers implement culturally competent pediatric trauma care in a manner that considers a child and family's unique cultural beliefs, values, and practices.