Schaffrath to Publish on Trauma Response in Individuals

Posted on 10/5/2015 11:36:27 AM

Stephan Schaffrath’s forthcoming publication “Obsession and Metamorphosis in Two First-Person Infantrymen Narratives” in the Midwest Quarterly (scheduled for spring 2016) relates in several ways to his teaching and advising role within IUP’s Department of Developmental Studies. His paper demonstrates that two people from very different cultural backgrounds and with very different attitudes toward their situations, have nevertheless strikingly similar reactions to extreme psychological trauma.

Students’ low performance on standardized tests, such as the SAT, can be correlated to their low socio-economic backgrounds. And, for better or worse, low SAT scores are commonly used to designate students as “developmental.” Many of IUP’s students come from such socio-economic backgrounds that show startling similarities with combat situations, not only in terms of experienced overt violence (both as victims and as aggressors/defenders) but also in regard to unreliable resource availability (such as shelter, food, and infrastructure) and unpredictable social circumstances, especially when faced repeatedly with the loss of family members and members of one’s social circle, not to mention the witnessing of atrocities.

The main benefit of his soon-to-be published qualitative study lies in fostering a better understanding of what psychologically traumatized individuals go through, how they naturally react and adjust, and how a cognitively informed approach can help alleviate as well as effectively manage the effects of psychological trauma.