Racial trauma: Theory, research, and healing: Introduction to the special issue

Lillian Comas-Díaz, Gordon Nagayama Hall, Helen A. Neville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Racial trauma, a form of race-based stress, refers to People of Color and Indigenous individuals' (POCI) reactions to dangerous events and real or perceived experiences of racial discrimination. Such experiences may include threats of harm and injury, humiliating and shaming events, and witnessing racial discrimination toward other POCI. Although similar to posttraumatic stress disorder, racial trauma is unique in that it involves ongoing individual and collective injuries due to exposure and reexposure to race-based stress. The articles in this special issue introduce new conceptual approaches, research, and healing models to challenge racial trauma. The authors encourage psychologists to develop culturally informed healing modalities and methodologically sophisticated research and urge the inclusion of public policy interventions in the area of racial trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Historical trauma
  • Microaggressions
  • People of Color and Indigenous individuals (POCI)
  • Race-based stress
  • Racial trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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