Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and vicarious traumatization have received widespread attention in the literature due to an increased awareness of negative effects mental health workers experience when working with people who have been traumatized. Mental health workers become more vulnerable to significant stress when they work with trauma victims, which can lead to many negative consequences that can affect their own health as well as their treatment of their clients. While there is much that we are learning about the causes and outcomes of mental health workers' exposure to their clients' trauma, there has been less focus on effectiveness of interventions. It is imperative for both the mental health worker and the clients with whom they work with that it is known what treatment is effective for mental health workers who experience negative effects from exposure to survivors' traumatic material. To date, no systematic review or meta-analysis has been conducted to examine the evidence of effects of interventions on compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and vicarious traumatization.

The present study utilized systematic review methods and meta-analysis to quantitatively synthesize research and systematically examine interventions targeting compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and vicarious trauma to examine the effects of interventions on symptoms of compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and vicarious traumatization. A comprehensive search strategy resulted in the identification of two single group pre-posttest studies that met criteria for inclusion in the current study. Effect sizes as well as study, participant and intervention characteristics were coded and analyzed.

The meta-analytic findings showed overall medium to very large effects of indicated interventions on the reduction of compassion fatigue and burnout symptoms, and an increase in compassion satisfaction. Though, it was alarming that only two studies met the inclusion criteria. With the constructs of compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and vicarious trauma being heavily present in the literature for the past two decades, it seems warranted to locate more research regarding intervention effectiveness on this topic as the constructs relate to mental health workers.

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