Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Empathic strain describes a stressor on individuals in professions in which one cares for others who have endured their own trauma or stress (Mathieu, 2021). While previous studies have looked mainly at medical, social work and law enforcement fields as being some of the most impacted by empathic strain, more recently educators have been identified as those challenged with this phenomenon.

Through a phenomenological qualitative study, which included a Facebook marketed Qualtrics survey on empathic strain, four individual interviews and a metaphorical data analysis focus group experience, the lived experiences of educators with empathic strain were collected. Each of the stages of data collection targeted the following research questions:

● How do Iowa educators understand and negotiate empathic strain?

● How do Iowa educators prevent and regulate empathic strain?

● What could Iowa school districts do to support educators with empathic strain?

This iterative data collection process, with partial analysis provided by the focus group participants themselves, delivered distressing results regarding the impact of empathic strain on Iowa educators. This study is an educational imperative for Iowa at a point where the teaching pool is dwindling and Iowa’s students are in need of strong teachers more than ever.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Lori Norton-Meier

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (x, 87 pages)