Although this concept has been explored and established in the literature, the available tools do not adequately measure the subjective experiences of shared trauma nor its functional consequences. In order for practitioners to provide optimal care for their clients, it is critical that practitioners have reliable and valid assessment tools that capture the complexity of this phenomenon.
To address this gap, the researchers developed the Shared Trauma Assessment Tool “STAT,” a self-assessment tool measuring clinician's subjective experiences of shared trauma and any adverse effects of this experience. STAT is comprised of 23 likert-scaled questions divided into four domains or subscales: (1) personal experiences, (2) professional experiences, (3) media exposure, and (4) support and coping. In addition, respondents are also asked to expound upon their responses for each domain with a short descriptive response. This version of the STAT was pilot tested by 54 MSW students from a Mid-Atlantic city who were placed in field internships during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Psychometric analyses were conducted from this pilot testing. Reliability assessments indicated that all but the Support and Coping subscales were reliable (Chronbach’s alpha for Personal experiences = .82, Professional experiences =.80, Media exposure = .72, and Support and coping =.55). The STAT in its entirety was reliable (Chronbach’s alpha = 89). Factor analyses, including principal axis factoring and principal component analysis, were inconclusive due to variance restrictions, which resulted from subscales with few items and a small sample size. Researchers have also coded qualitative responses and utilized these responses to further analyze whether respondents’ experiences align with expected outcomes within each domain.
After analyses were completed, the STAT was updated to reflect findings from initial data collection. This included modifying several items and adding items to the latter two subscales. Overall, initial analyses of the STAT suggest it may be a valuable tool for assessing clinicians’ experiences of shared trauma, and warrants further research. The updated STAT will be shared, along with a discussion of implications for both future research and practice.