Repository logo

Advocating for a Collaborative Research Approach on Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma.

Published version



Change log


Afifah Ridhuan, Suria 
Caltabiano, Anna 
Gillis, Harry 
Giritlioğlu, Ali 
Graff, Anna 


Since Myers (1915) coined the term 'shell shock' to define the prolonged suffering of soldiers returning from the Great War, the psychological and physical result of distressing experiences, known as trauma, has been of academic interest. Transgenerational transmission of trauma effects has been recorded, demonstrating that on some level, the exposure to trauma of one generation can impact individuals of a subsequent generation (Yehuda & Lehrner, 2018). Observational studies on children of holocaust survivors formed the basis of this trajectory of research (Rakoff, 1966), and eventually this phenomenon became referred to as the transgenerational transmission of trauma (TTT). Since then, TTT has been observed in several contexts, including within families who have experienced high rates historical trauma (O'Neill et al., 2016), within regions high-frequencies of historical war and terrorism (Yehuda & Lehrner, 2018) and those who have undergone famine (Ahmed, 2010). This report aims to outline several pathways (biological, psychological, and sociological) by which trauma may be transmitted across generations. Moreover, it discusses several methods of trauma assessment and the related challenges and benefits. Lastly, this report advocates a biopsychosocial approach - an interdisciplinary model using the interplay of biological, psychological, and social-environmental factors - to research TTT. By promoting the benefits of such an interdisciplinary approach we attempt to break up silos between disciplines and encourage collaboration between academics from various backgrounds researching this topic to better serve individuals impacted by TTT.



Trauma, Collaboration, Biopsychosocial

Is Part Of