The Psychological Processes Underlying a Trauma-Informed Approach in Primary Schools:The Perspectives of Leaders

Austin, Rosie (2023) The Psychological Processes Underlying a Trauma-Informed Approach in Primary Schools:The Perspectives of Leaders. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

Text (2023RosieAustinDClinPsy)
Rosie_Austin_Thesis_upload_no_signature_.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (3MB)


This thesis comprises a literature review, a research paper and a critical review of the research process. In the literature review, meta-ethnography was used to identify and synthesise 13 qualitative studies that explored teachers’ experiences of supporting student mental health. A conceptual model was developed, highlighting: (1) the pressures on teachers to adopt this role despite limited training, (2) a choice around whether to accept this responsibility, (3) the use of personal resources and judgement, (4) facilitators and barriers to this process and (5) the personal impact that this had on teachers. Teachers’ readiness to support students’ mental health is highlighted, however their ability to accomplish this is dependent on the support of the system around them. The study presented in the research paper utilised a grounded theory methodology. Fourteen participants, including external advisors in trauma-informed education and members of senior leadership teams were interviewed to explore their experiences of developing and implementing a trauma-informed approach in primary schools. The findings present a preliminary model outlining the relational processes at each level of the school system that underlie trauma-informed change. These processes were underpinned by the principles of safety, trust, collaboration, compassion, belonging, regulation, and attunement to needs. The findings suggest a need to shift attention within this field from program content to system- wide relational processes. The critical appraisal explores the psychological theory underlying the relational processes found within the research paper and draws the findings of the literature review and empirical papers together. Reflections on the research process are offered, followed by wider considerations of the importance of context, and of insuring credibility of the approach. Finally, a case for the role of clinical psychology within this work is proposed.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Data Sharing Template/no
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
06 Sep 2023 12:15
Last Modified:
13 Sep 2023 00:29