Personal and professional impacts of work-related stress alleviation strategies among child welfare workers in child advocacy center settings
Beer, O. W. J., Phillips, R., Letson, M. M., & Wolf, K. G.
High levels of occupational stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue have been challenges affecting social workers, organizations, and service users for decades. Studies have historically focused on quantifying these outcomes, missing the opportunity to qualitatively explore the role of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses in practitioners’ stress experiences.
Study Purpose and Methods
Research is particularly lacking regarding the impact of occupational stress on child welfare workers (CWWs) within Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), a population who routinely works with child abuse victims. This study analyzed three open-ended responses from a national online survey examining compassion fatigue in CACs to understand the impact of work-related stress on CWWs. Thematic analysis identified several themes regarding the professional and personal impact of work-related stress, as well as strategies used to alleviate stress.
CWWs in CAC settings are uniquely impacted by occupational stress at both the personal and professional level. CWWs adopt engaging and avoidant coping behaviors to alleviate work-related stress.
Conclusion and implications
This qualitative study addresses a critical gap in understanding the differences and commonalities among work-related stress and coping responses to environments deemed stressful by CWWs in CACs. Further research is essential for developing effective stress-management approaches for front line providers addressing family violence.
Beer, O. W. J., Phillips, R., Letson, M. M., & Wolf, K. G. (2021). Personal and professional impacts of work-related stress alleviation strategies among child welfare workers in child advocacy center settings. Children and Youth Services Review, 122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105904