Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2004


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Rick A. Myer

Committee Member

David Delmonico

Committee Member

William J. Casile


compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, secondary victimization, vicarious traumatization


This study examined the differences in secondary traumatic stress symptomotology in crisis intervention workers by their field of work (job title), level of experience, level of participation in stress reducing activities, and perception of having received adequate training to meet the challenges of disaster and trauma work. The purpose of the study was to contribute to developing a better understanding of factors that influence crisis intervention workers' experience of secondary traumatic stress. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to study 206 crisis intervention workers drawn from four different crisis intervention fields (personal care/nurses' aides, disaster relief workers, police officers, and professional counselors). Evidence of STS symptoms was determined by scores on the Compassion Fatigue (CF) subscale of the Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Test (CSF; Stamm and Figley, 1998). Demographic variables such as field of work, level of experience, participation in stress-reducing activities, and training were assessed on the Demographic/Trauma Work Questionnaire. No statistical significance was found to indicate a difference in the level of STS symptomotology in crisis intervention workers in relation to the variables studied. Because past research seems to support the idea that adequate self-care, greater experience, and adequate training reduce the level of STS symptoms in crisis intervention workers, the results were unexpected. Within the sample population, there existed substantial groups scoring at both ends of the spectrum (very low and very high risk for CF). This investigation was not able to determine what accounted for the difference between the high and low risk individuals. However, it was noted that a significantly larger portion of the personal care/nurses' aides group scored in the very-high risk for CF range than did the other groups. It may have been possible to determine the reason for this with more in-depth querying of the individual respondents. Future research might consider a more comprehensive and specific questionnaire to gain better insights into the personal and professional life experiences of these individuals that may impact STS symptom development.