Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Smith College Studies in Social Work

Document Type


Publication Date

June 2009


This article is a continuation of a conference panel dialogue that focused on providing individualized, culturally responsible treatment of secondary traumatic stress (STS) for military social workers. Key aspects of the roles and responsibilities, professional and ethical challenges of military social workers and social work officers serve as focal points for understanding the importance of social support. This article discusses ways social support might help to moderate the impact of STS. The ‘‘buddy system’’ describes a culturally unique protective factor, which is a well-known and effective type of social support utilized throughout the military. This article provides valuable information on how the ‘‘buddy system’’ can serve as a blueprint for managing STS experienced by military social workers. The article concludes with research, policy, and practice implications.

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Social Work Commons