Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Education

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Eric Van Duzer

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Claire Knox

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



A variety of studies have been conducted on how trauma, caused by emotional, physical, or verbal abuse, impact children’s lives. Many of the studies which involved observations and assessments were done with the preexisting knowledge that these children had been through a traumatic experience. Instead of looking at behavior of known cases, this study’s goal is to find out whether or not children’s observable behaviors can predict cases of trauma. For example, is acting out or defiance a key sign of trauma or is it part of the typical development for the elementary school-age group? This thesis takes into account three major elements effected by trauma: the brain, behavior, and the learning process. Within this paper, the importance of all three in the case of children and traumatic experiences is explained. Within the research study, behavior is examined by first observing classrooms of nine year-old, elementary school children using certain criteria to predict which of the children might have traumatic backgrounds. Using the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC-A) to assess and measure posttraumatic stress, the scores of the assessment are compared to the observations, to determine if such correlations can be made between certain behaviors and past traumatic experiences. The purpose of this research is to aid public elementary school staff in understanding how trauma effects children in the classroom and what the results of those effects means for the children’s learning processes.

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