Date of Award

May 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Karen C Stoiber

Committee Members

Kyongboon Kwon, Rajeswari Swaminathan, Jacqueline Nguyen


evidence-based interventions, evidence-based practice, implmentation science, school psychology, trauma-informed


Children who experience traumatizing life events are reported to be at greater risk for behavioral and emotional impairments that can diminish school performance. To address this, school psychologists can implement trauma-informed evidence-based interventions (TI EBIs), or treatments with an empirical basis that support the unique psychosocial needs of traumatized children in schools. However, a research-to-practice gap is described as negatively impacting school psychologists’ implementation of empirically-based direct intervention services. The present study aimed to examine the TI EBI implementation experiences of 16 novice school psychologists with regard to the distinct barriers and facilitators experienced within the in vivo school context, the specific TI interventions and practices used by implementors, and the graduate and post-graduate training implementors received in TI topics. A qualitative interview methodology and thematic analysis coding approach was used for this study. Results of the study indicate little use of published, evidence-based manualized intervention curriculums with fidelity; instead, implementors used modular sequences of activities and strategies (i.e., some of the components or strategies associated with EBIs) to address student concerns. Salient barriers to implementation identified include school psychologist beliefs, the reluctance of teachers, and difficulty engaging with students’ families; facilitators included consultative practices with teachers and other student support personnel. The practicing school psychologists in this study reported minimal graduate training in TI EBIs. In contrast, promising rates of graduate education in evidence-based practices were observed. Results of this research reaffirm the role of the scientist-practitioner training model in promoting evidence-based approaches to conducting interventions in the school setting. Results also include a commentary on the role of school psychologists in trauma treatment. Implications include the importance of school psychologists’ competency in consultation and knowledge of TI practices. Additional implications discussed are the need for novel options for research dissemination for the advancement of school psychologists as school-based mental health providers.