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Professionals caring for traumatised individuals are considered at risk of developing Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) and is considered the ‘cost of caring’. STS has similar symptoms to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical symptoms include headaches, sickness and fainting spells which coincide with psychological and emotional symptoms of anger, interrupted sleep, and anxiety.

More than two thirds of young children will have experienced at least one traumatic event or Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) before the age of 16. These traumatic events include abuse, bullying, poverty and neglect alongside parental mental illness, substance misuse, divorce, incarceration, and domestic violence. Primary school teachers support these children in their classrooms, highlighting both their exposure and vulnerability.

This research aims to measure the prevalence and levels of STS among UK primary schoolteachers, to better understand teachers’ experiences of STS and examine the risk and protective factors impacting on individual vulnerability.

Participants will be asked to complete an online survey composed of some short demographic questions, different scales measuring STS symptoms, and their experiences of supporting children who are traumatised. This should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.

Findings are expected to increase awareness and understanding of teachers experiences of Secondary Traumatic Stress, potentially impacting on provision, training, and support for those effected. Recognition of the effect of STS on both primary schoolteachers and the classroom can help shape initial teacher training and develop resources and support.

Survey is now active, and participants are needed asap, analysis to take place end of August 2024.

You can access the survey here.

For any questions, please contact Penny Paske on

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