Increasingly, preschools are integrating trauma-informed interventions, which often include components of training, to improve practices and promote the well-being of children who have experienced trauma. Similar interventions have been linked to positive outcomes for older children; however, there is limited research that examines whether or how training on trauma specifically contributes to child and staff well-being within early childhood settings such as preschools. The current study examines the relationship between trauma-informed training content, trauma-informed attitudes, and stress in a sample of 111 preschool staff (49% lead teachers, 20% assistant teachers, and 27% other staff such as administrators and classroom aides). This study examined the unique influence of training related to trauma-informed skills (e.g., screening for trauma, responding to challenging trauma-related behaviors) and trauma-informed self-reflection (e.g., the impact of a child’s trauma on staff) on trauma-related attitudes and stress (including general stress and child-related stress) in a sample of teachers and staff with prior training on trauma-informed knowledge (e.g., definitions of trauma). Compared to those with only knowledge training, teachers and staff with self-reflection (β = .22, SE = .09, p = .014) and self + skills training (β = .50, SE = .13, p < .001) had stronger trauma-informed attitudes than those with only knowledge training. Direct pathways from training content and trauma-informed attitudes to general stress were not significant. Pathway from trauma-informed attitudes to child-related stress (β = − .51, SE = .12, p ≤ .001) and the indirect pathway from self-reflection training (β = − .11, p = .015) self + skill training (β = − .25, p < .001) to child-related stress through trauma-informed attitudes were significant. The findings of this study suggest that all trauma-informed training is not equal; training that focuses on self-reflection, such as the role of vicarious trauma, may be particularly important as part of a trauma-informed school approach. Trauma-informed attitudes are also an important mechanism through which trauma-informed interventions may influence staff well-being in preschool settings.
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Loomis, A.M., Felt, F. Knowledge, Skills, and Self-reflection: Linking Trauma Training Content to Trauma-Informed Attitudes and Stress in Preschool Teachers and Staff. School Mental Health 13, 101–113 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-020-09394-7
- Early care and education
- Adverse childhood experiences
- Professional development
- Trauma-informed attitudes