Teachers' attitudes towards trauma-informed practice: Associations with attachment and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

Hannah Robertson, Karen Goodall*, Daniel Kay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been associated with a range of poorer health and educational outcomes. In response, many schools have adopted trauma-informed practice (TIP). Staff attitudes are postulated to play a central role in behaviour change, potentially facilitating or hindering system change towards TIP. However, little is known about how individual or contextual factors in school staff are associated with attitudes towards TIP.
The aim of this study was to investigate relationships between school staff demographic information, training experience, attachment patterns and ACEs, in relation to attitudes towards TIP.
Participants were 128 UK-based educational staff, aged 19-70 years (M = 37.76, SD = 11.34). Females comprised 93% of the sample; 44% of participants indicated that they had received trauma awareness training.
Participants completed an online survey comprising standardised measures of demographics, adult attachment, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC). The ARTIC questionnaire yields five sub-scales of attitudes.
Demographic variables were unrelated to attitudes towards TIP. Zero order correlations revealed that ACEs and attachment dimensions were associated with attitudes. However, multiple linear regression analyses indicated that when exposure to trauma-informed training was controlled, only attachment avoidance explained a significant proportion of variance in attitudes towards TIP.
Previous experience of adversity was unrelated to attitudes when the effect of training was controlled. Insecure attachment styles may pose a barrier to favourable attitudes towards TIP, despite training. Further research is required to determine why insecurely attached individuals, especially those with high avoidance, are resistant to trauma-informed ways of working.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-74
Number of pages11
JournalThe Psychology of Education Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2021


  • ACEs
  • teachers
  • attitudes
  • trauma informed
  • attachment
  • education


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