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Keywords:

  • invulnerability;
  • perceived risk;
  • adolescence

Abstract

The study investigated, in a high risk adolescent sample, the relationship between illusions of invulnerability and exposure to six specific traumatic events. The most significant finding was the significant negative relationship between exposure to trauma and level of invulnerability, indicating that the greater the exposure to trauma, the less the invulnerability expressed in regard to potential risk. A further significant finding of the study was that vicarious exposure to trauma affects how one estimates risk of death in relation to the “average other” but not in relation to the self. Direct experience of trauma, on the other hand, affects perceived risk in relation to both self and other.