Posttraumatic Growth and Religious Coping in Participants of CATCH Court, a Problem-Solving Court for Sex Trafficking Victims


Tammy Schultz, PhD & Hannah Estabrook, MA, LPCC-S | September 20 | 4:00-5:00 PM

Topic: Legal, Research | Knowledge Level: Intermediate

It is now well established that women trafficked into the sex industry report higher levels of posttraumatic stress compared to women who are not trafficked (Choi, Klein, Shin, & Lee, 2009; Krumrei-Mancuso, 2017). Still, the attention on negative symptoms stemming from trauma has overshadowed awareness of adaptive coping strategies individuals in these contexts employ, as well as their potential for growth and transformation despite the formidable struggles they have endured (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 2013; Joseph, Murphy, & Regel, 2012). Religious coping following exposure to trauma is one such mechanism deserving attention, given the way unwelcome experiences disrupt personal beliefs and life narratives and cause individuals to grapple with the incomprehensible. Religious coping may provide resources for cognitive appraisals that assist with engaging the ultimate questions trauma raises and provide practices that support their recovery. Participants of this study included 60 individuals enrolled in the Changing Actions to Change Habits (CATCH) Court program, established in 2009 by Judge Paul M. Herbert in the Columbus, Ohio Franklin County Municipal Court for human-trafficking victims and persons arrested for prostitution and/or solicitation (Mueller, 2012). CATCH participants were recruited through invitation by the CATCH Court judge during weekly status review hearings. Results of this study will be discussed including findings related to traumatic events, Posttraumatic Stress (PTS), Posttraumatic Growth (PTG), distressing events, and religious coping. In an otherwise understandable overemphasis on posttraumatic stress, this presentation seeks to encourage survivors and providers alike with some helpful research on posttraumatic growth and religious coping among human trafficking survivors.
Presentation Objectives:

·  Define CATCH Court, a restorative justice response to adult trafficking survivors in the criminal justice system.

·  Explore the research behind PTG and how it relates to survivors of sex trafficking.

·  Discuss both Negative and Positive Religious Coping and their impact on PTG.

·  Identify linkages between exposure to trauma, PTS, religious coping and PTG in a group of individuals exiting sex trafficking.

About the Presenters