First Advisor

Julie Rosenzweig

Date of Publication

Spring 5-24-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work




Psychic trauma -- Patients -- Care, Mental health personnel -- Attitudes, Organizational change, Psychic trauma -- Patients -- Mental health services



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 185 pages)


Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an approach to service delivery based on the understanding of the prevalence of psychological trauma among service users, knowledge about the impact trauma has on engagement to services, and recognition that service settings can be re-traumatizing. For more than a decade, momentum has been building on this topic. Practitioners are pursuing the knowledge and skills needed to implement trauma-informed service delivery, while organizations are building infrastructure and processes aimed at supporting this approach. Disciplines across many human service sectors are eager to incorporate TIC into policy and practice. Despite this enthusiasm, implementation efforts are slow. Acquiring foundational knowledge about TIC has typically been recommended as a first step when implementing a trauma-informed approach. However, slow progress in implementation suggests knowledge may not be enough. This study investigated the individual characteristics that impact a commitment to TIC, with specific attention to the relationship between foundational knowledge about trauma-informed care and commitment to TIC. Other variables of interest included perceived principal support, TIC self-efficacy, beliefs about trauma and its impact, and organizational strain. Survey data were collected from 118 participants working in mental health, public health, and early childhood. Results from structural equation modeling suggest that foundational knowledge predicts affective commitment to TIC both directly and with the partially mediated paths through principal support, TIC self-efficacy, and beliefs about trauma. Organizational strain does not moderate these effects. However, group differences based on high and low levels of perceived organizational strain were observed and discussed. These findings add to the growing literature on TIC and should be considered as organizations strive to implement TIC.


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