Hess, Robyn S.

Committee Member

Athanasiou, Michelle

Committee Member

Welsh, Marilyn C.

Committee Member

Weiler, Spencer


School Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



177 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


This mixed methods study evaluated attitudes related to trauma-informed care among 52 general and special education teachers in an urban school district. Additionally, 11 qualitative interviews were used to explore trauma-informed care trained teachers’ experiences working with youth impacted by trauma. Compared to the non-trained group, teachers who had been trained in trauma-informed care, specifically Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in the Schools (HEARTS), demonstrated a significantly greater understanding that experiencing trauma can lead to problematic behavior in the classroom and that these students may need additional support to learn. Trained teachers’ mean attitudes trended in the direction of more favorable viewpoints related to trauma-informed care compared to the non-trained group, except for attitudes related to Self-Efficacy. The most influential factor of teachers feeling capable to meet the demands of working with students impacted by trauma was having a personal history of trauma. Being trained in conjunction with having a personal history of trauma appeared to create more trauma-informed perspective related to on-the-job behavior, such as having empathy-focused (e.g., “it’s okay that my students are upset”), rather than control-focused attitudes. Qualitive findings revealed that teachers who had participated in the trauma-informed training were able to recognize the signs of trauma and respond to student behavior in a trauma-informed manner. Teachers responded in a variety of ways including being more mindful of their own behavior, being proactive, and taking a flexible approach to managing trauma-related behavior. Developing safe and secure relationships and creating a sense of community were vital in providing trauma-informed care. To best support their students, teachers recognized the emotional impact of working with trauma-affected students and communicated the importance of self-care and expressing gratitude. Teachers discussed the value of the training and the training team. There were clear similarities between trauma-informed care frameworks and the qualitative findings. Implications of the findings focus on implementation of trauma-informed service delivery in the schools.


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