An Evaluation of Whole-School Trauma-Informed Training Intervention Among Post-Primary School Personnel: A Mixed Methods Study

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Students’ ability to reach their potential in school—both behaviourally and academically – is linked to their educator’s knowledge of child and adolescent development, childhood adversity and trauma, and how these impact learning and behaviour. However, teacher pre-service training programmes often offer inadequate instruction to meet the needs of trauma-impacted students. The purpose of the study was to investigate the benefits of professional development training in trauma-informed approaches on school personnel attitudes and compassion fatigue. There is a paucity of research on whole-school trauma-informed approaches and most have methodological limitations via the absence of a control group. In addressing this gap, the study is one of the first to utilise a control group in the research design to ensure findings are robust. The study utilised a quasi-experimental wait-list control pre-post intervention design to evaluate the efficacy of trauma-informed professional development training. We compared attitudes and compassion fatigue among 216 school personnel (n = 98 intervention, n = 118 comparison) utilising the Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) scale and the Professional Quality of Life scale (Pro-QoL). Quantitative data was supplemented by qualitative focus group data. Findings demonstrated that school-personnel within the intervention group reported significant improvements in attitudes related to trauma-informed care, and a significant decrease in burnout at 6-month follow-up. Our findings demonstrate that with minimum training on the dynamics of trauma, personnel attached to a school can become more trauma-informed and have more favourable attitudes towards trauma-impacted students and consequently be less likely to experience burnout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925–941
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Trauma
Early online date5 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge the research team including Dr Donal McAteer and Dr Orla McDevitt-Petrovic of Ulster University along with Ms Marie Dunne, Director of Resilio (charity-based organisation) for their input into the trauma-informed training programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Whole-School
  • Trauma-Informed
  • Education
  • Burnout
  • Secondary Traumatic Stress
  • Teacher
  • Wait-List Control
  • Compassionate Schools
  • Whole-school
  • Trauma-informed
  • Wait-list control
  • Compassionate schools
  • Secondary traumatic stress


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