Some Related Research

Witness to Suffering: Mindfulness and Compassion Fatigue Among Traumatic
Bereavement Volunteers and Professionals
(Thieleman K, Cacciatore J. Social Work. 2014 Jan;59(1):34-41.

This study used a survey to investigate the relationship between mindfulness and compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction among volunteers and professionals at an agency serving the traumatically bereaved. Overall, this sample showed surprisingly high levels of compassion satisfaction and low levels of compassion fatigue, even among respondents thought to be at higher risk of problems due to personal trauma. Implications of these findings are particularly relevant for social workers and other professionals employed in positions in which they encounter trauma and high emotional stress.

Helping the Helpers: Assisting Staff and Volunteer Workers Before, During, and After Disaster Relief Operations (Randal P. Quevillon, Brandon L. Gray, Sara E. Erickson, Elvira D. Gonzalez, and Gerard A. Jacobs. Journal of Clinical Psychology 72:1348–1363, 2016)

Self-care strategies and system supports employed in preparation for, during, and after disaster relief operations are crucial to relief worker well-being and the overall effectiveness of relief efforts. Relief organisations and management must structure operations in a manner that promotes self-care and workers must implement proper self-care strategies. Proper self-care before, during, and after operations can reduce negative reactions to stressful emergency work and promote growth, mastery, and self-efficacy after the experience. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to discuss the importance of organisational supports and self-care strategies in disaster relief settings. This article emphasises the role of both individual and management participation and commitment to relief worker support and positive experience in operations and provides suggestions for doing so.

Prediction of Burnout in Volunteers (M. Pilar Moreno-Jimenez and M. Carmen Hidalgo Villodres. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2010, 40, 7, pp. 1798–1818)

This analysis shows that the time dedicated to volunteering and the extrinsic motivations (i.e., social and career) predicts higher levels of burnout, whereas intrinsic motivations (i.e., values and understanding), life satisfaction, and integration in the organisation are negatively related to burnout.

Predictors of Dropout and Burnout in AIDS Volunteers: A Longitudinal Study
(M. W. Ross, S. A. Greenfield, L. Bennett. Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, 11(6), 723-731.)

The best predictors of the dropping-out of HIV/AIDS volunteers can be divided into the stresses (client problems and role ambiguity, emotional overload and organisational factors) and depersonalisation intensity. The results showed that volunteers who experienced more client problems and role ambiguity, more emotional overload and more problems with organisational factors are more likely to drop out from the volunteer programme. They also show that the dropout volunteers have a significantly higher level of depersonalisation intensity than the continuing volunteers, with the risk of dropout increasing by almost a third in the highest third of depersonalisation intensity scorers compared with those with lower scores. These data indicate that it is the stressors of AIDS volunteering, including the intensity, of depersonalisation, which lead to dropout, and that rewards do not appear to have a protective effect.

Enduring Mental Health Morbidity and Social Function Impairment in World Trade CenterRescue, Recovery, and Cleanup Workers: The Psychological Dimension of an EnvironmentalHealth Disaster (Jeanne Mager Stellman, Rebecca P. Smith, Craig L. Katz, Vansh Sharma, DennisS. Charney, Robin Herbert, Jacqueline Moline, Benjamin J. Luft, Steven Markowitz, IrisUdasin, Denise Harrison, Sherry Baron, Philip J. Landrigan, Stephen M. Levin and StevenSouthwick. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 116, No. 9 (Sep., 2008), pp. 1248-1253)

This study describes mental health outcomes, social function impairment, and psychiatric comorbidity in the WTC worker cohort, as well as perceived symptomatology in workers’ children. Comorbidity was extensive and included extremely high risks for impairment of social function. PTSD was significancy associated with loss of family members and friends, disruption of family, work, and social life, and higher rates of behavioural symptoms in children of workers. Working in 9/11 recovery operations is associated with chronic impairment of mental health and social functioning. Psychological distress and psychopathology in WTC workers greatly exceed population norms. Surveillance and treatment programs continue to be needed.

Reduction in Burnout May be a Benefit for Short-Term Medical Mission Volunteers (Clark Campbell , Donell Campbell , David Drier , Ryan Kuehlthau , Todd Hilmes & Melissa Stromberger. Mental Health, Religion & Culture Volume 12, 2009 – Issue 7 Pages 627-637)

Since short-term mission trips rarely provide financial remuneration, one way to conceptualise this service is as a form of volunteerism. People may volunteer for missions with the idea that they will provide necessary services to needy recipients. Yet, a common remark heard among those returning from such mission trips is, “I didn’t realise how much I would benefit from doing this. I thought I was giving to them, but they actually gave to me.” Stressful aspects of medical practice (such as lack of control over personal time and pressure to see more patients in less time) were rated and correlated with the burnout scales. The burnout scores improved following short-term mission service and continued to improve at a six-month followup. Perhaps a reduction in burnout is one of the benefits of short-term mission work, and further study of this benefit is recommended.

Compassion Fatigue: The Known and Unknown
(Tuğba Pehlivan, Perihan Güner. Journal of Psychiatric Nursing 2018;9(2):129-134.)

Compassion fatigue is expressed as an adverse effect of helping individuals suffering from traumatic events or otherwise. However, compassion fatigue is defined differently in in recent studies, and the developmental process of compassion fatigue has been explained with the help of different models. Since compassion fatigue, lacks a clear understanding, it leads to a conceptual complexity in previous studies. In this review, compassion, compassion fatigue, concepts related to compassion fatigue, and the development of compassion fatigue are discussed in the light of previous studies.

Personal Factors Related to Compassion Fatigue in Health Professionals
(Moshe Zeidner, Dafna Hadar, Gerald Matthews and Richard D. Roberts. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 2013 Vol. 26, No. 6, 595-609)

This study examines the role of some personal and professional factors in compassion fatigue among health-care professionals. Major findings indicate that both self-report ‘‘trait’’ emotional intelligence and ability-based emotion management are inversely associated with compassion fatigue; adaptive coping is inversely related to compassion fatigue; and differences exist between mental and medical professions in emotional intelligence, coping strategies, and negative affect. Furthermore, problem-focused coping appears to mediate the association between trait emotional intelligence and compassion fatigue. These findings shed light on the role of emotional factors in compassion fatigue among health-care professionals. Beyond enhancing our knowledge of practitioners’ professional quality of life, the current study serves as a basis for the early identification of groups of practitioners at risk for compassion fatigue.

Compassion Satisfaction, Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout Among Rescuers
(Zaidi SMIH, Yaqoob N, Husnain S. Journal of Postgraduate Medical Institute 2017; 31(3): 314-8.)

Pre-hospital providers are former to face trauma on accident scene. Inadequate indications are available regarding pre-hospital trauma care training programs and the advantage of such programs for trauma patients. Most of them feel compassion satisfaction in dealing with such situations. Compassion satisfaction is the understanding of pleasure resulting from serving others, or being gifted to do effort well and the degree of credit by colleagues. Rescuers may prefer to benefit others through their services i.e. by donating their aptitude at work setting or even the greater good of humanity. Significant positive relationship between compassion satisfaction and secondary traumatic stress and significant negative relationship between compassion satisfaction and burnout among rescuers were observed. Rescuers’ have moderate level of compassion satisfaction, secondary traumatic stress and burnout. Compassion satisfaction was significantly predicted from age group, marital status, living area, socioeconomic status, nature of job, secondary traumatic stress and burnout.

Weathering the Storm: Persistent Effects and Psychological First Aid with Children Displaced by Hurricane Katrina (Daphne S. Cain, Carol A. Plummer, Rakainzie M. Fisher, and Toni Q. Bankston. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 3:330–343, 2010)

Psychological first aid (PFA) is recommended by disaster mental health experts as the “acute intervention of choice” when responding to individuals affected by disaster. Although PFA is typically applied within the first weeks following a disaster this study found that, due to the long-term displacement associated with Hurricane Katrina and the relative lack of immediate mental health services for displaced persons, PFA intervention even several years post the disaster is warranted. One finding that was clear from this study is that PTSD symptoms are prevalent among children not identified as “clients” and thus not receiving more intensive services. These symptoms last far beyond the disaster event and are persistent, even at moderate clinical levels, both before PFA and after the program (although levels did decrease significantly). This study adds to the growing body of research on PFA with children and suggests that it can be effectively utilised with highly traumatised children years after a major disaster.

Promoting Workplace Health by Diminishing the Negative Impact of Compassion Fatigue and Increasing Compassion Satisfaction (Cynthia Harr. Social Work & Christianity, Vol. 40, No. 1 (2013), 71–88)

This article explores personal and organisational factors that may contribute to or diminish the impact of compassion fatigue on a human service professional’s overall quality of life and suggests strategies to increase compassion satisfaction and improve overall workplace health. While the potential for compassion fatigue will always exist, it is the responsibility of the social worker, the agency, and the supervisor to work collaboratively to help recognise, decrease, and/or prevent its symptoms. Compassion satisfaction mitigates the negative effect of compassion fatigue and burnout and is a prime motivator for continued service. For those in the helping professions, the positive feeling that comes from compassion satisfaction sustains, nourishes, and contributes to the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of the professional which in turn promotes workplace health.

Stress, Burnout, Compassion Fatigue, and Mental Health in Hospice Workers in Minnesota (Robin R. Whitebird, Stephen E. Asche, Gretchen L. Thompson, Rebecca Rossom, and Richard Heinrich. Journal of Palliative Medicine Volume 16, Number 12, 2013

Hospice staff reported high levels of stress, with a small but significant proportion reporting moderate to severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Staff reported managing their stress through physical activity and social support, and they suggested that more opportunities to connect with coworkers and to exercise could help decrease staff burnout. Poor mental health places staff at risk for burnout and likely contributes to staff leaving hospice care; this is a critical issue as the profession attempts to attract new staff to meet the expanding demands for hospice care.

After the Flood: The Response of Ministers to a Natural Disaster
(Cecil Bradfield, Mary Lou Wylie and Lennis G. Echterling. Sociological Analysis, Vol. 49, No. 4 1989, pp. 397-407)

Ministers often play an important role in offering emotional support to individuals suffering a personal tragedy. When people are confronted with losses, such as death or divorce, they frequently turn to the clergy for guidance and counselling. In rural areas where mental health resources are generally scarce and underused, ministers serve a particularly vital function in helping those who have had traumatic experiences. Although they are often well-trained or experienced in dealing with people coping with personal tragedies, the clergy, like other professionals, are rarely prepared for large-scale natural disasters. This paper present the results of follow-up interviews with ministers covering such issues as work overload, frustrations, role conflict, and stress symptoms. In particular, we explore the unique challenges ministers face in helping people to integrate the traumatic and tragic events of the disaster into the theological context of their religious beliefs.

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