Vicarious Traumatization: An Examination of the Effects of Exposure to Traumatic Material in Child Abuse Counselors
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. C. Richard Spates
Dr. Lisa Baker
Dr. Scott H. Kollins
Masters Thesis-Open Access
Counselors who deliver services to children who have suffered maltreatment confront on a daily basis horrific examples of human suffering inflicted on society's most vulnerable members. Such repeated exposure may put these professionals at risk for adverse psychological consequences, including vicarious traumatization (VT), which can include symptoms similar to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The present study examined the unique effects of providing trauma services to children on 34 counselors who work primarily with child survivors of maltreatment. While the prevalence of PTSD symptoms in this sample was low, respondents reported higher levels of depression and emotional exhaustion than found in the general population. Further, this sample reported better than average spiritual and environmental quality of life and lower than average physical and psychological quality of life. Factors that predicted VT, burnout, anxiety, and depression included level of training and utilization of coping resources. PTSD and coping were significant predictors of perceived quality of life. Implications of these results for current conceptualizations of VT and future research are discussed.
Waller, Stacey A., "Vicarious Traumatization: An Examination of the Effects of Exposure to Traumatic Material in Child Abuse Counselors" (2000). Masters Theses. 4618.