Faculty Publications

Title

Secondary traumatic stress and empowerment among social workers working with family violence or sexual assault survivors

Document Type

Article

Keywords

compassion fatigue, family violence, psychological empowerment, secondary traumatic stress, Social work, vicarious traumatization

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Social Work

Volume

17

Issue

3

First Page

358

Last Page

378

Abstract

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

5-1-2017

DOI of published version

10.1177/1468017316640194

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

Share

COinS