Historical Trauma Scales

People sometimes wonder exactly what historical trauma is–Here are two scales created by holding focus groups, facilitated by Native people on a reservation–The first scale is a measure of what happened and the second is a measure of how people react to what happened


Historical Trauma



Historical losses scale:


  1. Loss of land
  2. Loss of language
  3. Loss of our traditional spiritual ways
  4. Loss of our family ties because of boarding schools
  5. Loss of our families from government relocation
  6. Loss of self-respect from poor treatment by government officials
  7. Loss of trust in whites from broken treaties
  8. Loss of our culture
  9. Losses from effects of alcoholism on our people
  10. Loss of respect by our children and grandchildren for elders
  11. Loss of our people through early death
  12. Loss of respect by our children for traditional ways





Historical losses associated with symptoms scale:


  1. Often feel sadness or depression
  2. Often feel anger
  3. Often feel anxiety or nervousness
  4. Uncomfortable around white people when you think of these losses
  5. Shame when you think of these losses
  6. Loss of concentration
  7. Feel isolated or distant from other people when you think of these losses
  8. Loss of sleep
  9. Rage
  10. Fear or distrust of intentions of white people
  11. Feel like it’s happening again
  12. Feel like avoiding places or people that remind you of these losses


Each scale is rated from 0 to 5


From:Whitbeck,Adams, Hoyt, Chen

Conceptionalizing and Measuring Historical Trauma Among American Indian People

American Journal of Community Psychology  Vol. 33 No. ¾  June 2004 p. 119-130

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