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

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Objective: 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.
Method: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusion: 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.
Keywords: Whole-School; Trauma-Informed; Education; Burnout; Secondary Traumatic Stress; Teacher, Wait-List Control; Compassionate Schools
Original languageEnglish
Article numberSN - 1936-153X
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Trauma
Issue number
Early online date5 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jan 2022


  • Whole-School
  • Trauma-Informed
  • Education
  • Burnout
  • Secondary Traumatic Stress;
  • Teacher
  • Wait-List Control;
  • Compassionate Schools


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