Abstract: ECPN Student Poster Contestant: Examining the Effectiveness of Head Start Trauma Smart: Preschool Staff Satisfaction, Knowledge, and Attitudes (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

258 ECPN Student Poster Contestant: Examining the Effectiveness of Head Start Trauma Smart: Preschool Staff Satisfaction, Knowledge, and Attitudes

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Andrew Orapallo, BA, Doctoral Student, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Billie-Jo Grant, PhD, Faculty, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
Courtney Baker, PhD, Associate Professor, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Introduction: Exposure to adverse experiences and/or trauma has shown to have detrimental effects on the social-emotional development of young children. Unfortunately, few evidence-based interventions exist to thwart these effects, particularly for preschool-aged children. Head Start programs are one ideal setting to identify at-risk children and provide the appropriate support for them and their families. Head Start Trauma Smart (HSTS) is an early intervention program designed to alleviate the negative impacts of trauma exposure by creating a trauma-informed culture in preschool classrooms. The HSTS intervention includes four components: staff and caregiver training on trauma-informed care, peer-based mentoring, classroom consultation, and individual trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy. We explored the effectiveness of HSTS by measuring overall satisfaction of the training provided by HSTS, post-training knowledge about trauma-informed care, and pre-to-post changes on the Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) scale.

Methods: Staff (N = 1,469) from two cohorts of sites implementing HSTS were included in this study. HSTS training was delivered in two-hour segments once a month for ten months. The remaining intervention components were provided continuously across the school year. Pre-to-post changes in attitudes related to trauma-informed care were collected prior to and immediately following participation in a 10-module training sequence. Staff also completed learning checks after each module, which consisted of staff answering three multiple-choice questions. Lastly, staff self-reported overall satisfaction of HSTS on a five-point likert scale at the conclusion of each module.

Results: The percentage of participants who reported positive satisfaction with the overall training program was 96%. Staff tended to answer most learning checks correctly with percent correct for each module ranging from 73% to 94%. The average across all modules was 84%. Finally, staff reported significant attitude changes from pretest to posttest on the ARTIC scale following completion of the HSTS training program. Paired-samples t-tests showed a significant increase in positive attitudes related to trauma-informed care for the overall ARTIC scale and for all subscales. Effect sizes ranged from .20 to .43. Small to small-medium effects were found for all subscales, with a small effect for the overall ARTIC scale. (d = .30).

Conclusions: Findings suggest HSTS is an effective program for shifting staff attitudes related to trauma-informed care in Head Start preschool classrooms. HSTS also shows promise in training preschool staff to implement best practices in creating a trauma-informed culture, as well as to promote positive social-emotional development for preschool children with histories of trauma exposure.