Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences




The purpose of this consensual qualitative research (CQR) study was to describe the essence of the experiences of 10 human subject researchers who have been impacted by research-related trauma. After the data was collected, transcribed, and coded, five main themes emerged from this study: (1) data engagement; (2) symptoms and impacts; (3) coping; (4) weight of representation; and (5) support. Findings of this study may help research supervisors and higher education leaders have greater awareness of how vicarious trauma may impact students and professionals who engage in research regarding traumatic content. The findings in this article can be used to recognize trauma in researchers, as well as springboard further discussions of vicarious trauma. Researcher supervisors and higher education leaders can reflect on their role in recognizing and mitigating vicarious trauma. Recommendations for future research include expanding identities for researchers using the CQR method and participants recruited, finding effective strategies and policies, exploring the incidental theme of dehumanization, and conducting quantitative studies.