An examination of the psychometric properties of the Vicarious Trauma Scale in a sample of licensed social workersedit
Vicarious trauma (VT) involves affective distress and shifts in cognitive schemas following secondary exposure to traumatic material. The Vicarious Trauma Scale (VTS) is a brief measure designed to assess distress resulting from such exposure and has potential as a screening tool for VT in practice and educational settings. The current study is the first examination of the psychometric properties of the VTS in a sample of social workers (n = 157) collected in a cross-sectional survey. Results from item response models (IRM) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) suggest the VTS has good to excellent psychometric properties and could be a general screening tool for exposure to traumatic material or distressed clients and a measure of the affective and cognitive impact of such exposure. Both CFA and IRM approaches suggest a two-dimensional solution for the VTS, corresponding to cognitive and affective components. Implications for research and applications to practice are discussed.