An examination of the psychometric properties of the Vicarious Trauma Scale in a sample of licensed social workers


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

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.

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