The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 66

R. Jason Lynch

. . . supporting students witnessing
a traumatic event or experiencing
severe mental health issues, the
death of a loved one, and an eating
disorder were also found to impact
self-reported secondary trauma.

to reduced occurrences of secondary trauma
(Cieslak et al., 2013; Lynch, 2017).
While personal factors may explain individual characteristics that may predispose
caregivers to secondary trauma, a number of
work environment factors have been found to
impact the development of secondary trauma.
For instance, helping professionals who identified strong networks reported lower traumatic
stress responses (Rzeszutek et al., 2015). Within
this framework, supportive supervisors have
also been identified as a crucial mechanism for
prevention of secondary trauma (Lynch, 2017;
Sorenson, 2018). Finally, specific factors related
to trauma support have been found to correlate
with self-reported secondary trauma, including
cumulative trauma exposure, the average time
spent supporting a traumatized individual, and
the level of training associated with managing
secondary trauma (Hensel et al., 2015; Newell
& Nelson-Gardell, 2014).
With the rate of students reporting a traumatic experience outpacing institutional
capacity for professional counseling (Association for University and College Counseling
Center Directors, 2017), RAs may be called
upon to manage the needs of residents expe-

66

riencing trauma until they receive professional
help (American College Health Association
[ACHA], 2015). Research in other helping professions has identified secondary trauma as a
negative byproduct of trauma support work,
but this phenomenon has received little attention within the context of RA work. To date,
there is little research within the collegiate
housing literature that explores how work environment factors, specifically trauma support
responsibilities, may impact the development
of secondary trauma in RAs. This study addresses this gap by analyzing the results of
a survey that aimed to better understand the
nature of secondary trauma within RAs.

THE SECONDARY TRAUMA IN
RESIDENT ASSISTANTS SCALE
This study was a secondary analysis of a 2016
study that sought to develop and validate the
Secondary Trauma in Resident Assistants Scale
(STRAS) (Lynch, 2017). This scale is meant to
measure symptoms of secondary traumatic
stress in college resident assistants. The original survey was administered electronically
using Qualtrics software during the summer
of 2016 to a purposeful sample of resident
assistants from across the country (N = 208).
Participants were required to be an undergraduate student and a current resident assistant
slated for employment during the fall 2016 semester. They were also required to have had at
least one full semester of RA experience.
A total of 33 items were included in the
original administration of the survey, each
mapping to one of four symptoms associated
with traumatic stress disorders defined within
the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V). These

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Cover1
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