Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

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Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome - book cover.jpg
AuthorJoy DeGruy Leary
CountryUnited States
SubjectDiscrimination & Racism
GenreSociology / Race Relations
PublisherUptone Press
Pages235 pages

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing (PTSS) is a 2005 book resulting from years of historical and psychological research by Joy DeGruy (née Leary).[1][2] PTSS describes a set of behaviors, beliefs and actions associated with or, related to multi-generational trauma experienced by African Americans that include but are not limited to undiagnosed and untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in enslaved Africans and their descendants.[1]

PTSS posits that centuries of slavery in the United States, followed by systemic and structural racism and oppression, including lynching, Jim Crow laws, and unwarranted mass incarceration, have resulted in multigenerational maladaptive behaviors, which originated as survival strategies. The syndrome continues because children whose parents suffer from PTSS are often indoctrinated into the same behaviors, long after the behaviors have lost their contextual effectiveness.

DeGruy states that PTSS is not a disorder that can simply be treated and remedied clinically but rather also requires profound social change in individuals, as well as in institutions that continue to reify inequality and injustice toward the descendants of enslaved Africans.

DeGruy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication, a master's degree in Social Work, a master's degree in Clinical Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Social Work Research. She teaches social work at Portland State University and gives lectures on PTSS nationally and internationally.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dr Joy DeGruy.
  2. ^ Hammond, Pamela V.; Davis, Bertha L. (2007). "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome". ABNF Journal. 18 (4): 112.
  • Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, Joy Degruy Leary. Uptone Press (2005). ISBN 978-0963401120