The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 72

R. Jason Lynch

secondary traumatic stress. Results were significant in that they provided evidence that
the types of trauma support in which an RA
engages, as well as the duration of their support,
play a meaningful role in their self-reported
levels of secondary traumatic stress. In particular, supporting residents experiencing suicidal
ideation was found to have the most significant
impact on RA self-reported levels of secondary
trauma. Given that suicide continues to be a
leading cause of death on college and university
campuses (Suicide Prevention Resource Center,
2014) and that RAs are often expected to act as a
resource for residents experiencing suicidal ideation (Grosz, 2008; Taub & Servaty-Seib, 2011),
it follows that this type of support may be of particular concern for RA supervisors and housing
leaders. Additionally, supporting students who
witness a traumatic event or experience severe
mental health issues, the death of a loved one,
or an eating disorder was also found to impact
self-reported secondary trauma.

Given that suicide continues to be
a leading cause of death on college
and university campuses and that
RAs are often expected to act as a
resource for residents experiencing
suicidal ideation, it follows that this
type of support may be of particular
concern for RA supervisors and
housing leaders.

72

Overall, the findings of this study extend
the work of Owens (2011) and Sorenson (2018)
by exploring secondary trauma using specific
symptomologies and environmental factors
such as trauma type and time spent engaging
in trauma support work. Findings also extend
research focused on the negative impact of RA
work, particularly burnout (Hardy & Dodd,
1998; Paladino et al., 2005; Stoner, 2017), by
framing secondary trauma as another potential
outcome. It is worth noting that no relationship existed between secondary trauma and diversity of training types, length of RA service,
number of residents, or average amount of
time spent on-call. This finding may underscore the importance of trauma type, cumulative trauma exposure, and trauma support
duration as factors to focus on when investigating or addressing this issue among RAs. Additionally, this finding highlights the ubiquitous
nature of secondary trauma given the lack of
concentrated reports in senior RAs versus new
RAs or among RAs with varying amounts of
on-call responsibilities.

Practical Implications
Findings from this study may have significant implications for RA training and RA
supervision.

Resident assistant training. Scholarship in
other helping professions has demonstrated
that training focused on building awareness of
secondary traumatic stress can help to mitigate
the development of this phenomenon (Bercier,
2013). Leaders in housing and residence life
who are involved with RA training initiatives
should incorporate sessions focused on secondary trauma during summer and winter
RA trainings, as well as in-service trainings
throughout the year, in order to promote the

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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