As the primary setting where children access mental health services, schools represent a critical site for trauma screening and early intervention. However, the literature provides limited guidance on the technical adequacy of existing trauma screening instruments in the school context; effective practices for implementation of trauma screening procedures; and stakeholder perceptions of implementation-relevant outcomes that are associated with the actual adoption and use of trauma screening instruments. As such, this mixed-method dissertation study was designed to address three aims: (a) to examine the psychometric qualities of a brief trauma-screening tool (the University of Minnesota’s TSSCA) in a school context; (b) to examining whether multiple-gating is a viable and efficient procedure for school-based trauma screening, and (3) to gather input from key stakeholder groups regarding their perceptions of the feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of trauma screening procedures and instruments. Results from screening administration provide confirmation of the TSSCA’s reliability and factor structure when administered in the school context. Analyses of potential multiple-gating procedures suggest that the viability of multiple-gating is context specific and depends on the nature of the broad behavior screening at the first gate and school system resources. In focus groups with stakeholders, all participants perceived the TSSCA to be feasible, appropriate, and acceptable for use in schools. Feasibility was noted as a particular strength. Results from this dissertation study will contribute to the literature on school-based trauma screening as an evidence-based strategy of improving outcomes for children exposed to potentially traumatic experiences.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2020. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisors: Clayton Cook, Abigail Gewirtz. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 180 pages.
An Exploratory Study of Trauma Screening Procedures and Instruments in Schools.
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