Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Measurement and Research

Major Professor

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Linda Raffaele-Mendez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.


role breadth, self-efficacy, trauma-informed care, trauma-informed schools


Children growing up below the poverty line are at heightened risk for developing complex symptoms of trauma caused by repeated exposures to a variety of traumatic events. The detrimental effects of repeated traumatic exposures on developing children living in low-income environments are now considered a public health concern (APA Presidential Task Force on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma in Children and Adolescents, 2008; Crosby, Howell, & Thomas, 2018). Increased awareness of the negative effects of trauma early in life and the need for combative care has accelerated the movement for educators to become trauma-informed, which can be demonstrated through altered teaching practices, improved school climate and relationships, and ongoing trauma-related professional development (Crosby, 2015; Thomas, Crosby, & Vanderhaar, 2019). This study investigated the preparedness of teachers working in Title 1 schools to address the mental health needs of students in the classroom, including teachers beliefs regarding their perceived role breadth as an educator, their self-efficacy in addressing student mental health needs within the school setting, and their attitudes towards trauma-informed care principles and ideals through a secondary analysis of pre-existing quantitative data that were gathered in collaboration with the Harmony Project. The Harmony Project is a trauma-informed care training that was designed to promote the understanding of trauma-informed care amongst school staff using a train-the-trainers model with the intentions of positively impacting school culture, and the academic, behavioral, and emotional outcomes of students. The data were gathered from educational staff (N = 299; n = 199 teachers, n = 49 school mental health staff, n = 51 other) employed by eight different Title 1 public schools within one district in Western-Central Florida. Findings indicate that teachers within this sample believe that their role as a teacher includes responsibility for not only student learning, but also some responsibility for attending to the mental health and overall, well-being of their students. Additionally, results indicate that educators within this sample have some confidence in addressing the mental health needs of their students within Title 1 schools, but the majority of educators within this sample exhibited room for improvement in perceived preparedness. While all educators reported highest levels of efficacy in relation to activities that involved student-teacher relationships and collaboration with other teachers, low levels of efficacy were reported for actions related to discussing student mental health concerns with parents, collaborating with parents to support student mental and emotional health, recognizing signs of mental health issues in students, and connecting students with supports and resources they may need. Findings also indicated that educators had generally positive attitudes related to trauma-informed care and comparisons of attitudes between teachers and those with other roles at the schools indicated no significant differences in attitudes related to trauma-informed care based on professional role. Furthermore, results of a multiple linear regression analysis indicated that about 23% of the variance in educators’ attitudes toward trauma-informed care were explained by largely role breadth and self-efficacy. Implications for school-level trauma initiatives and school psychologists are discussed.