Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Sharon Zumbrunn, PhD


The high prevalence, cognitive impact, and behavioral consequences of trauma have been heavily studied during the past few decades. The ways that teachers can ameliorate the effects of trauma have also been established, although mostly in K-12 contexts. The purpose of this explanatory sequential mixed methods study was to examine pre-service teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes toward trauma-informed practices and to determine what salient experiences, courses, and understanding about trauma influenced the development of their knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes. Findings from the quantitative data demonstrated that pre-service teachers (n = 67) generally have a positive attitude toward trauma-informed practices. Two clusters emerged within the pre-service teachers in this sample, a High and Low Cluster. Findings from the qualitative interviews (n = 8) revealed that classroom experiences were the most salient learning experiences for trauma, that most pre-service teachers desired more knowledge about trauma-informed practices, and that secondary traumatic stress is generally not understood. Implications for research include identifying and studying empirically the practices that can be labeled as trauma-informed as well as using Social Cognitive Theory for future trauma-informed research. Pre-service teacher preparation programs should consider ways to make explicit connections between practicum experiences and trauma-informed practices as well as teach and model the importance and need for self-care within the education context.


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