Departmental Talk

Dr. Jennifer Coleman did a great job of discussing the topic of racial differences in post traumatic stress disorder. She started off her talk discussing a lot of terms that we have touched on in our course. I thought all of these points were extremely relevant to what we have been talking about and I felt very educated in these subjects, which made it easier to follow along with her talk. Many of the topics she presented research on in the beginning were things we had deeply discussed in class such as how stress can negatively affect your health and how inequality can directly and indirectly affect your health.

One point I found to be extremely interesting throughout her talk was her idea of transmitting trauma. While PTSD is a commonly known disorder, her talk showed me how complex it truly can be. Behaviors, beliefs, and even laws can transmit trauma. I liked her example of a person with PTSD and how that may affect their children. While someone with PTSD may not be conscious of their behaviors and actions, these may be having a profound effect on their children. I think back to when I was a child and how much I looked up to my parents. Everything they did I followed and I can see how this would be the same in the case of PTSD. If my dad was scared of alarms and flinched every time he heard one, I probably would adapt that trauma as well. Additionally, laws and people in power can have a huge traumatic effect on people. We have talked a lot about the power of power in this class but I thought her example offered a new perspective.

The importance of measurement and consistency is something that has been greatly discussed in our class this semester. Therefore, I was not surprised when she said that a lot of studies she researched had conflicting results. While each study may have been measuring PTSD as a general topic, each individual study had it’s own measurements for each variable and it’s own definitions for each term. Jennifer addressed this multiple times specifically when conducting her own study. She noted how important it is to have a reliable way of measuring the various terms in order to come to a conclusive conclusion about the topic of PTSD and race.

Jennifer offered a lot of new and interesting things that I greatly enjoyed listening to. I was very interested in the minority stress model as well as the trans generational trauma theory and wish she went into greater detail about these two topics. Lastly, I was extremely interested in her point about cultural differences in psycho education about PTSD. I am curious if the type of education varies for different races? Different socioeconomic status? I thought her conclusion was perfect. She discussed the importance of being open to adopting a broad perspective on these cultural differences and how impactful it can be. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed her talk and look forward to seeing what research she does in the future!

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