Homophily Effect in Trauma-Informed Classroom Training for School Personnel. Academic Article uri icon


  • A national shortage of youth mental health professionals necessitates training others (e.g., school staff) to help youth with behavioral and mental health issues. Professional training in trauma-informed classroom (TIC) practices could increase school staff's awareness of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The purpose was to determine the effect of homophily on participants' perceptions or knowledge of TIC training. Mental Health America of Greater Houston (MHAGH) offered TIC training from 2019 to 2020 to Texas educators (N 29,900) from nine school districts that experienced significant natural and human-made traumatic events. Proportional stratified random samples were selected based on trainer type (experts vs. peer trainers). Perception was measured with close-ended items on five-point scales. Knowledge was measured with content-specific questions. Independent t-tests and two-way ANOVA revealed no significant interaction effects (i.e., trainer and test type) and no differences existed in perception or knowledge by trainer type. TIC training can be equally effective when delivered by homophilous peers (i.e., school staff) and heterophilous experts (i.e., mental health experts). COVID-19 worsened the effects of ACEs and youth mental health issues. High-quality training will increase school staff's use of TIC practices. MHAGH's train-the-trainer model helps educators supporting youth affected by ACEs and other life stressors.

published proceedings

  • Int J Environ Res Public Health

altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • Zickafoose, A., Wingenbach, G., Haddad, S., Freeny, J., & Engels, J.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Zickafoose, Alexis||Wingenbach, Gary||Haddad, Sana||Freeny, Jamie||Engels, Josephine

publication date

  • January 2022