Date of Submission

2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Bruce S Zahn, EdD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Patricia Hillis-Clark, PsyD

Abstract

This study utilized a prospective cross-sectional design to examine if a coping profile can be identified, indicating whether or not a professional is able to cope effectively with exposure to trauma symptoms while working in a residential treatment setting. The participants in this study were employees at a residential treatment facility in the suburbs of a major metropolitan area. Results indicated that individuals who utilized an emotion-focused or problem-focused coping style were less likely to experience symptoms of burnout. Participants who worked directly with those individuals who had experienced trauma experienced levels of burnout similar to those who had not, but experienced significantly higher levels of secondary traumatic stress. Furthermore, participants who worked a high number of hours per week and utilized an emotion-focused coping style were at higher risks for developing symptoms of burnout. Participants who utilized an avoidant coping style experienced low levels of compassion satisfaction; those who had experienced abuse in their past were at highest risk for developing symptoms of secondary traumatic stress. Access to effective supervision was related to lower levels both of burnout and of secondary traumatic stress. These findings support conceptualizing burnout and secondary traumatic stress as separate constructs, and also provide insight into risk factors for the development of negative symptoms in employees working with traumatized youth in a residential treatment setting.