Secondary traumatic stress and empowerment among social workers working with family violence or sexual assault survivors
compassion fatigue, family violence, psychological empowerment, secondary traumatic stress, Social work, vicarious traumatization
Journal of Social Work
Summary: The impact of secondary traumatic stress on social workers can be profound. The study reported here examined the relationship between psychological empowerment and secondary traumatic stress among social workers who provide services to family violence or sexual assault survivors on a regular basis. The study participants (N =154) were recruited from the National Association of Social Workers in the United States; data were collected through mail surveys. Psychological empowerment was defined as having a sense of competency, impact, self-determination, and meaning in one’s organization as the person performs work. Findings: Social workers who demonstrated higher levels of psychological empowerment experienced lower levels of secondary traumatic stress controlling for sociodemographic variables. Among the control variables, experiencing more personal traumatic events predicted higher levels of secondary traumatic stress. Applications: The findings imply that social service organizations can help social workers prevent or alleviate secondary traumatic stress symptoms by enhancing their psychological empowerment. Several organizational strategies can be developed to empower social workers who assist the survivors of family violence or sexual assault to prevent secondary traumatic stress or reduce its severity.
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Choi, Ga Young, "Secondary traumatic stress and empowerment among social workers working with family violence or sexual assault survivors" (2017). Faculty Publications. 890.