A traumatic event is an event in which the individual has been exposed to actual death or threat of death, serious injury or sexual violence in one or more of the following ways:
- being directly exposed to one or several traumatic events, being a first hand witness to one or several traumatic events that happen to other people.
- learning that one or several traumatic events occurred to a close member of the family or a close friend.
- being exposed in a repeated or extreme way to the aversive characteristics of the traumatic event or events.
Interpersonal violence, accidents, or natural disasters are all traumatic events. Other types of events such as losing a job, a breakup1, or financial difficulties are life events that can be painful and disruptive. However, they are not considered traumatic events.