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Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention Advance Access originally published online on January 13, 2006
Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 2006 6(1):79-98; doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/mhj003
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© The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

Original Article

The Consequences of Reporting Child Maltreatment: Are School Personnel at Risk for Secondary Traumatic Stress?

   Ernst O. VanBergeijk, PhD
   Teresa LL. Sarmiento, MSW

From Fordham University-Graduate School of Social Service

Contact author: Ernst O. VanBergeijk, Fordham University-Graduate School of Social Service, 113 West 60th Street, New York, NY 10023. E-mail: vanbergeijk{at}

As mandated reporters, school personnel are exposed to child maltreatment. Often these experiences result in a range of emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms and in some cases these symptoms may comprise Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS). In this study, grounded theory methods were used to analyze the experiences of 28 school personnel involved in mandated reporting of child maltreatment. Based on these narratives, a conceptual model is proposed for the development of STS among school personnel. STS within this population is a result of an interaction between the individual characteristics of the reporter, the community's historical precedence for violence, the current level of violence in the community, reporter's fears of what might occur once a report has been made, and unintended consequences of previous reports of child maltreatment.

KEY WORDS: child maltreatment, trauma, school personnel, secondary traumatic stress, reporting, United States–Mexico border

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