Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey (BBTS)

Background:

According to betrayal trauma theory (Freyd, 1994, 1996), experiences involving a betrayal of trust, such as childhood abuse perpetrated by an adult who is quite close to the victim, led to a set of outcomes that differ in kind from traumas that do not involve betrayal. Freyd (1999, 2001) hypothesized that separate clusters of symptoms of post-traumatic distress arise from two distinct dimensions of harm–life threat and social betrayal. Life threat is predicted to lead to symptoms of anxiety and hyper-arousal; social betrayal should lead to symptoms of dissociation, emotional numbness and depression, and constricted or abusive relationships. High levels of both life threat and social betrayal characterize the most severe traumatic events; with both aspects present, both classes of symptoms can co-occur, as in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. In summary, betrayal-trauma theory emphasizes the nature of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, particularly whether or not the perpetrator is a caregiver. Although many measures of trauma history have recently become available (see Norris, 1992; Norris & Riad, 1997; Wilson & Keane, 2004), the field has lacked a brief instrument that discriminates experiences with betrayal-related events (interpersonal events in a close relationship) from other kinds of potentially traumatic events, which is exactly what the Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey (BBTS) accomplishes.

Psychometrics:

For psychometric details see: Goldberg, LR. & Freyd, J.J. (2006). Self-reports of potentially traumatic experiences in an adult community sample: Gender differences and test-retest stabilities of the items in a Brief Betrayal-Trauma Survey. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 7(3), 39-63.

Author of Tool:

Goldberg, LR. & Freyd, J.J.

Key references:

Goldberg, LR. & Freyd, J.J. (2006). Self-reports of potentially traumatic experiences in an adult community sample: Gender differences and test-retest stabilities of the items in a Brief Betrayal-Trauma Survey. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 7(3), 39-63.

Freyd, J.J. & Goldberg, L.R. (2004) Gender difference in exposure to betrayal trauma. Presentation at the 20th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, New Orleans, LA, November 14-18, 2004.

Primary use / Purpose:

Assesses and distinguishes between four different types of traumatic events relating top betrayal, namely Interpersonal from non-interpersonal events, betrayal events (where the perpetrator had a close relationship with the target) from other interpersonal events (where the relationship was not so close), childhood from adult events, and physical versus sexual versus emotional types of abuse.

 

Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey (BBTS)

from Goldberg & Freyd (2006)

 

For each item below subjects report on exposure "before age 18" (the lower item number, i.e. 1-12) and "age 18 or older" (the higher item number, i.e. 13-24). Reponse choices are: never, 1 or 2 times, more than that

1/13. Been in a major earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado that resulted in significant loss of personal property, serious injury to yourself or a significant other, the death of a significant other, or the fear of your own death.

2/14. Been in a major automobile, boat, motorcycle, plane, train, or industrial accident that resulted in similar consequences.

3/15. Witnessed someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent, brother or sister, caretaker, or intimate partner) committing suicide, being killed, or being injured by another person so severely as to result in marks, bruises, burns, blood, or broken bones. This might include a close friend in combat.

4/16. Witnessed someone with whom you were not so close undergoing a similar kind of traumatic event.

5/17. Witnessed someone with whom you were very close deliberately attack another family member so severely as to result in marks, bruises, blood, broken bones, or broken teeth.

6/18. You were deliberately attacked that severely by someone with whom you were very close. 7/19. You were deliberately attacked that severely by someone with whom you were not close.

8/20. You were made to have some form of sexual contact, such as touching or penetration, by someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent or lover).

9/21. You were made to have such sexual contact by someone with whom you were not close

10/22. You were emotionally or psychologically mistreated over a significant period of time by someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent or lover).

11/23. Experienced the death of one of your own children.

12/24. Experienced a seriously traumatic event not already covered in any of these questions.

 

Scoring the BBTS

The BBTS can be scored in various ways. One way is to use it to group people into various categories (for instance: those with high betrayal experiences and those without). Another way is to create subscales such as a "high betrayal score" and a "low betrayal score" that can be then used to predict other variables such as dissociation or anxiety.

Creating Categories of Participants:

Cromer, L.D. & Freyd, J.J. (2007). What influences believing abuse reports? The roles of depicted memory persistence, participant gender, trauma history, and sexism. Psychology of Women's Quarterly, 3, 13-22.

Becker-Blease, K.A. & Freyd, J.J. (2008). A Preliminary Study of ADHD Symptoms and Correlates: Do Abused Children Differ from Non-Abused Children? Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma, 17(1), 133-140.

Gobin, R.L. & Freyd, J.J. (2009). Betrayal and revictimization: Preliminary findings. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy,1, 242-257.

Creating Subscales:

Freyd, J.J., Klest, B., & Allard, C.B. (2005). Betrayal trauma: Relationship to physical health, psychological distress, and a written disclosure intervention. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 6(3), 83-104.

Kaehler, L.A. & Freyd, J.J. (2009). Borderline personality characteristics: A betrayal trauma approach.

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 1, 261-268.

Hulette, A.C., Kaehler, L.A., & Freyd, J.J. (2011). Intergenerational Associations between Trauma and Dissociation. Journal of Family Violence, 26, 217-225.

 

Suggested Categorization of BBTS Items into A) Three Scales (High, Medium, and Low Betrayal) or B) Two Scales (High/More Betrayal and Low/Less Betrayal)

  1. Three Scales: Traumas with High, Medium, and Low Betrayal Trauma with High Betrayal

You were deliberately attacked that severely by someone with whom you were very close.

You were made to have some form of sexual contact, such as touching or penetration, by someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent or lover).

You were emotionally or psychologically mistreated over a significant period of time by someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent or lover).

 

Trauma with Medium Betrayal

Witnessed someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent, brother or sister, caretaker, or intimate partner) committing suicide, being killed, or being injured by another person so severely as to result in marks, bruises, burns, blood, or broken bones. This might include a close friend in combat.

Witnessed someone with whom you were very close deliberately attack another family member so

 

severely as to result in marks, bruises, blood, broken bones, or broken teeth.

You were deliberately attacked that severely by someone with whom you were not close. You were made to have such sexual contact by someone with whom you were not close Experienced the death of one of your own children.

Experienced a seriously traumatic event not already covered in any of these questions.

 

Trauma with Low Betrayal

Been in a major earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado that resulted in significant loss of personal property, serious injury to yourself or a significant other, the death of a significant other, or the fear of your own death.

Been in a major automobile, boat, motorcycle, plane, train, or industrial accident that resulted in similar consequences.

Witnessed someone with whom you were not so close undergoing a similar kind of traumatic event.

 

  1. Two Scales: Traumas with High/More Betrayal and Low/Less Betrayal Trauma with More Betrayal

Witnessed someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent, brother or sister, caretaker, or intimate partner) committing suicide, being killed, or being injured by another person so severely as to result in marks, bruises, burns, blood, or broken bones. This might include a close friend in combat.

Witnessed someone with whom you were very close deliberately attack another family member so severely as to result in marks, bruises, blood, broken bones, or broken teeth.

You were deliberately attacked that severely by someone with whom you were very close.

You were made to have some form of sexual contact, such as touching or penetration, by someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent or lover).

You were emotionally or psychologically mistreated over a significant period of time by someone with whom you were very close (such as a parent or lover).

 

Trauma with Less Betrayal

Been in a major earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado that resulted in significant loss of personal property, serious injury to yourself or a significant other, the death of a significant other, or the fear of your own death.

Been in a major automobile, boat, motorcycle, plane, train, or industrial accident that resulted in similar consequences.

Witnessed someone with whom you were not so close undergoing a similar kind of traumatic event. Witnessed someone with whom you were not so close deliberately attack a family member that severely.*

You were deliberately attacked that severely by someone with whom you were not close. You were made to have such sexual contact by someone with whom you were not close

You were emotionally or psychologically mistreated over a significant period of time by someone with whom you were not close.*