Cultural Considerations

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.

Download D-E-F Pocket Cards with quick screening and intervention recommendations.

D-E-F: Guide to Culturally-Sensitive Trauma-Informed Care

D-E-F: Providing Culturally-Sensitive Trauma-Informed Care