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Psychol Serv. 2014 Feb;11(1):75-86. doi: 10.1037/a0033798. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

A meta-analysis of the relationship between job burnout and secondary traumatic stress among workers with indirect exposure to trauma.

Author information

1
Trauma, Health, and Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Abstract

The study provides a systematic review of the empirical evidence for associations between job burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS) among professionals working with trauma survivors, indirectly exposed to traumatic material. Differences in the conceptualization and measurement of job burnout and STS were assumed to moderate these associations. A systematic review of literature yielded 41 original studies, analyzing data from a total of 8,256 workers. Meta-analysis indicated that associations between job burnout and STS were strong (weighted r = .69). Studies applying measures developed within the compassion fatigue framework (one of the conceptualizations of job burnout and STS) showed significantly stronger relationships between job burnout and STS, indicating a substantial overlap between measures (weighted r = .74; 55% of shared variance). Research applying other frameworks and measures of job burnout (i.e., stressing the role of emotional exhaustion) and STS (i.e., focusing on symptoms resembling posttraumatic stress disorder or a cognitive shift specific for vicarious trauma) showed weaker, although still substantial associations (weighted r = .58; 34% of shared variance). Significantly stronger associations between job burnout and STS were found for: (a) studies conducted in the United States compared to other countries; (b) studies using English-language versions of the questionnaires compared to other-language versions, and (c) research in predominantly female samples. The results suggest that, due to high correlations between job burnout and STS, there is a substantial likelihood that a professional exposed to secondary trauma would report similar levels of job burnout and STS, particularly if job burnout and STS were measured within the framework of compassion fatigue.

PMID:
23937082
DOI:
10.1037/a0033798
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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