College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Personal and contextual predictors of mental health counselors’ compassion fatigue and burnout

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-13-2014

Publication Title

Journal of Mental Health Counseling

ISSN

1040-2861

Volume

36

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

This study applied transactional stress and coping theory to explore the contributions of counselor gender, years of experience, perceived working conditions, personal resources of mindfulness, use of coping strategy, and compassion satisfaction to predict compassion fatigue and burnout in a national sample of 213 mental health counselors. Multiple regression analyses revealed that in this sample while perceived working conditions, mindfulness, use of coping strategy, and compassion satisfaction accounted for only 31.1% of the variance in compassion fatigue, these factors explained 66.9% of the variance in burnout. Counselors who reported less maladaptive coping, higher mindfulness attitudes and compassion satisfaction, and more positive perceptions of their work environment reported less burnout. The utility of these findings in understanding the development of counselor burnout and compassion fatigue are discussed, as are directions for future research.

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