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Emily C. Koller, B.A.; Dr. Regina A. Abel, PhD; Dr. Lauren E. Milton, OTD, OTR/L


Background: Informal caregivers are susceptible to compassion fatigue in vicarious response to another’s suffering. The purpose of the study was to determine the feasibility of an online program that addresses compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress in informal caregivers.

Method: The study used a pre-post repeated measures feasibility design. Eighty-six participants were initially recruited. The intervention consisted of a 70-min online program. The participants completed surveys before and after program completion. The number of participants that completed each study phase was recorded to determine feasibility outcomes of acceptability, implementation, and demand. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test was employed to analyze survey results.

Results: Ten participants completed all study phases. Of the participants recruited and consented to participate, 29% completed part of the program, 12% completed all phases, and 70% reported they would recommend the online program. The results of the Wilcoxon signed-rank test revealed that completion of the online program elicited a significant change in secondary traumatic stress-related outcomes.

Conclusion: Findings provided preliminary evidence suggesting that the online program may be a feasible intervention to support informal caregiver mental health. Future efficacy testing of the online program is needed with specific consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social isolation impacting mental health.


The authors have no conflict of interest to declare, nor financial interest or benefit that has arisen from our research.