Teacher acceptability of trauma-informed approaches following foundational professional development training
Although the theoretical basis supporting the use of trauma-informed approaches in schools is promising, evidence for mechanisms of facilitating their acceptability among teachers is limited. Findings from implementation science indicate that foundational professional development training during pre-implementation activities can generate teacher support for a new approach, which is essential to successful formal implementation. Theoretical models point toward enhanced teacher knowledge of the approach as a predictor of such support. The current study examined whether foundational professional development training increased teacher knowledge of a new school-wide initiative, trauma-informed approaches, and evaluated that knowledge growth as a predictor of teacher perceptions of acceptability for trauma-informed approaches. Feasibility and system fit, two domains of perceived social validity of trauma-informed approaches, were assessed as potential moderators of the association between knowledge growth and acceptability. Although the training significantly increased teachers’ knowledge of trauma-informed approaches, knowledge growth did not predict acceptability ratings. Feasibility and knowledge growth did not interact to predict acceptability ratings. However, individuals providing higher ratings of system fit demonstrated a positive relationship between knowledge growth and acceptability. When system fit ratings were lower, knowledge growth predicted lower acceptability ratings. Findings provide partial support for foundational professional development training as a pre-implementation tool and identify factors that influence pre-implementation acceptability of trauma-informed approaches among teachers.