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ERIC Number: ED522137
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 276
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-2706-8
An Inquiry of the Lived Experiences and Contextual Understandings of Early Childhood Special Educators Related to Children's Trauma
DuBois, Alison L.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Duquesne University
Secondary trauma stress, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma are terms rarely found in educational literature. Studies have shown the significant and lasting ramifications of these constructs within the realm of counseling and psychology. Professionals working in educational settings with high risk populations encounter multiple exposures to children experiencing traumatic events. Despite this phenomenon, teacher and counselor training programs do little to address the issue, thereby matriculating graduates who do not feel confident, well informed, and effective when dealing with trauma material on a daily basis. This inquiry sought to examine the lived experiences and contextual understandings of early childhood special education teachers. Additionally, this study explored the effects of secondary trauma on professionals working with high risk populations, environmental protective and risk factors associated within the educational environment, the role of administrative support, and finally the impact of stress on an educator's career development. Theoretical underpinnings of this research included Bronfenbrenner's (2002) bio-ecological model of human development, Super's (Sharf, 1995) theory of career development, and Figley's (1980) work on secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue. Maslach's (1980) research on burnout, in addition to the current literature on developmental psychopathology are also be discussed. This qualitative, phenomenologically-oriented research design employed semi-structured interviews with approximately 8 early childhood special education teachers currently working in Western Pennsylvania. A focus group involving 5 of the informants commenced at the conclusion of the interviews thereby providing participants with an opportunity to further discuss the topical issues associated with this phenomenon, in addition to the preliminary research data gleaned from the semi-structured interviews. This dissertation addresses the key research areas found in current education literature associated with trauma, teacher attrition, compassion fatigue, and administrative support. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania