Trauma and Complexity: From Self to Cells
Traumatic life events exert effects that can be anything but simple. Such complexity is evident in the interaction between traumatic event characteristics (e.g., different kinds of trauma exposure; military vs. civilian, sexual vs. non-sexual) and person characteristics (e.g., gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation). Complexity is further revealed by the fact that trauma affects not only specific individuals but the social relationships within which they are embedded, including intimate partners, peers, and family members through to larger communities, countries and cultures. Trauma can also be understood as a complex temporal process that unfolds over multiple timescales, including over the course of a single event, developmental period, lifetime course, and period in history. Finally, as implied by the meeting subtitle, the experience and outcomes of traumatic stress take place across multiple levels, beginning with first-person self-experience that is encoded and further recursively expressed through myriad neurobiological markers. This meeting invites presentations that help us understand and embrace the full complexity of responses to and recovery from trauma exposure.