Psychology & social behavior professor Roxane Cohen Silver’s work sheds light on human resilience after natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Her latest study, co-authored with doctoral graduate in psychology & social behavior Dana Garfin and associate professor of nursing science E. Alison Holman, examines the relationship between acute stress responses to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and prior direct, indirect or media-based exposure to three collective traumatic events: the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Superstorm Sandy, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The researchers found that increased direct, indirect or media-based exposure to past community traumas was associated with acute stress responses to the Boston Marathon bombings. These findings indicate that the accumulation of past trauma may sensitize individuals to subsequent trauma exposure. “Screening for prior exposure to collective traumas may help researchers and practitioners identify individuals at greatest risk for acute stress response and perhaps longer-term health problems after subsequent trauma,” Cohen Silver said. Thus, they warrant the attention of first responders and others seeking to help disaster victims. The study appears online in Psychological Science, an Association for Psychological Science journal and was funded by the National Science Foundation.