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Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) Scale

Abstract

Due to its high prevalence and associated risk of poor academic and health outcomes, adverse childhood experiences and trauma are considered a public health epidemic. In response, there has been a surge of initiatives aimed at helping institutions and individuals serving people with histories of trauma to adopt a trauma-informed care (TIC) approach. However, significant roadblocks to TIC research and practice include an unclear operational definition of TIC and the shortage of psychometrically robust instruments to evaluate TIC. To close these gaps, we used a partnership-based approach to develop a direct, efficient, and cost-effective measure of TIC focused on evaluating the TIC-relevant attitudes of staff working in schools, human service systems, and other settings serving individuals with histories of trauma. We then conducted a psychometric evaluation of the resultant measure, the Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) Scale, with a sample of 760 staff employed in education, human services, and health care. Study findings established support for the psychometric properties of the measure. Specifically, confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the seven-factor structure fit the data well. Scores on the ARTIC demonstrated strong internal consistency and test–retest reliability over 6 months for the 45-item and 35-item composites, the seven subscales, and the 10-item short form. Construct and criterion-related validity were supported by correlations with indicators of familiarity with TIC and staff- and system-level indicators of TIC implementation. The current study has implications for accelerating research on TIC and facilitating data-based decision making related to the adoption and implementation of TIC.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Tulane University and A Studio in the Woods/Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research for their support of this project. We would like to acknowledge Laurie Pearlman, Kay Saakvitne, Steve Girelli, Christine Farber, Beth Hudnall-Stamm, Michael Hoerger, Johanna Kester, and Andrew Finnegan for their assistance with this project. Finally, we would also like to thank the educators, service providers, and staff who participated in this study. Risking Connection® is a registered trademark of the Sidran Institute.

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Correspondence to Courtney N. Baker.

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Baker, C.N., Brown, S.M., Wilcox, P.D. et al. Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) Scale. School Mental Health 8, 61–76 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-015-9161-0

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Keywords

  • Trauma
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Instrument development