The Development And Validation Of The Secondary Trauma In Resident Assistants Scale

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jason Lynch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Higher Education (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: SECONDARY TRAUMATIC STRESS has been described as "the stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person" (Figley, 1999, p. 10). College resident assistants often serve as first-responders to students who have experienced traumatic life events such as severe mental illness, substance abuse, sexual violence, and hate crimes. To date, the literature has not thoroughly addressed the impact of providing this level of support on collegiate resident assistants. This study aimed to explore one possible outcome identified in individuals in other helping professions: secondary traumatic stress. The researcher set out to develop and validate an instrument that may aid in understanding four symptoms associated with secondary trauma within U.S. college resident assistants, as indicated in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V): negative alteration of mood or cognition, arousal and reactivity, avoidance, and intrusive thoughts. Results indicated a four factor model representing internal and external manifestations of negative alteration of mood or cognition, avoidance, and intrusive thoughts. Arousal and reactivity did not emerge as a factor and was therefore excluded. Implications for future research and practical applications are discussed.

Additional Information

LYNCH RJ. The Development and Validation of the Secondary Trauma in Resident Assistants Scale. Journal of College & University Student Housing. 2017;44(1):10-29. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2017
Resident assistants, Mental health of college students, Secondary traumatic stress, Mental illness, Substance abuse, Sexual assault

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