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Trauma-informed attitudes, teacher stress, and expulsion decision risk in preschool classrooms


Despite the known relationship between trauma and academic outcomes, including expulsion risk, for preschoolers, little is known about the role that teachers may play in addressing the effects of childhood trauma within preschool settings. The current study examined the relationship between a teacher’s overall stress, trauma-informed attitudes, and indicators of children’s expulsion decision risk using a sample of preschool lead and assistant teachers (n = 129) recruited from Head Start classrooms in the Mountain West. Multivariate multiple regression was used to determine whether teachers stress and trauma-informed attitudes (trauma-informed knowledge, self-efficacy, and reactions) were related to three indicators of expulsion decision risk using subscales of the Preschool Expulsion Risk Measure (classroom disruption, fear of accountability, and child-related stress) for the most disruptive child in the teacher’s classroom. Higher overall stress significantly predicted higher fear of accountability (β = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.07, .45, p = 0.007). Higher trauma-informed knowledge was significantly related to lower child-related stress (β  = −0.40, 95% CI = −0.63, −.17, p = 0.001). Higher trauma-informed self-efficacy was significantly related to lower classroom disruption (β  = −0.45, 95% CI = −0.66, −.25, p < 0.001). Multigroup models revealed significantly different pathways for children of color (Black, Latinx, and American Indian children) compared to White children; teacher stress predicted higher expulsion decision risk for children of color and trauma-informed attitudes predicted lower expulsion decision risk for White children. Implications for development and evaluation of trauma-informed approaches for early childhood settings are discussed. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

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