Identifying compassion satisfaction, burnout, & traumatic stress in children’s advocacy centers

Identifying compassion satisfaction, burnout, & traumatic stress in children’s advocacy centers

Identifying compassion satisfaction, burnout, & traumatic stress in children’s advocacy centers
Letson, M. M., Davis, C., Sherfield, J., Beer, O. W. J., Phillips, R., & Wolf, K. G.

Abstract

Background

Little research exists examining burnout related to the multidisciplinary team (MDT) working in a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) setting.

Objectives

To measure compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress (STS) among CAC MDT professionals; identify work and worker characteristics that may impact compassion satisfaction, burnout, and STS; understand professional and personal impacts of occupational stress; and explore coping responses.

Participants and setting

A cross sectional survey was sent electronically to child abuse professionals working in CAC settings across the United States.

Methods

Demographics and work characteristics were collected. Participants completed the Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) to evaluate compassion satisfaction, burnout, and STS and answered open-ended questions regarding professional and personal impacts of occupational stress. Upon completion, participants received their ProQOL scores and additional stress management resources.

Results

A total of 885 participants completed the ProQOL (mean age = 42.07; 85% female). Overall mean scores were average for compassion satisfaction, high average for burnout, and in the top quartile for STS. All three scales differed significantly by MDT professional role (ps < 0.001 to 0.01) and employment length (ps < 0.001 to 0.003). Child welfare workers had significantly higher burnout scores than all other professions except law enforcement and prosecutors and significantly lower compassion satisfaction scores than most others. Professionals providing on-call services had significantly higher burnout (p <  0.001).

Conclusions

These results contribute to our understanding of MDT professions who might be at higher risk for burnout and STS and help inform future interventions to support the MDT.

Citation

Letson, M. M., Davis, C., Sherfield, J., Beer, O. W. J., Phillips, R., & Wolf, K. G. (2019). Identifying compassion satisfaction, burnout, & traumatic stress in children’s advocacy centers. Child Abuse & Neglect, 110(3), 104240. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104240