Compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and burnout in a national sample of trauma treatment therapists

C D Craig, G Sprang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For behavioral health professionals working with traumatized clients, continuous and prolonged exposure to the stress of working with the myriad of trauma-related stressors experienced by their clients can lead to various responses including burnout, compassion fatigue, and compassion satisfaction. The present study investigates the impact of using evidence-based practices on compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction in a random, national sample of self-identified trauma specialists (N=532). The 30-item Professional Quality of Life Scale (Stamm, 2005) and the 19-item Trauma Practices Questionnaire (Craig & Sprang, 2009) were included in a survey to licensed social workers and psychologists from professional membership rosters. Age and years of experience proved to be powerful predictors of only two of the three criterion variables, with younger professionals reporting higher levels of burnout and more experienced providers endorsing higher levels of compassion satisfaction. The utilization of evidence-based practices predicted statistically significant decreases in compassion fatigue and burnout, and increases in compassion satisfaction. The utility of these findings in understanding the process of trauma transmission between therapist and client as well as directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-39
Number of pages21
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Education
  • Empathy/physiology
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Fatigue/psychology
  • Health Personnel/psychology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Mental Health Services
  • Middle Aged
  • Oklahoma
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Workforce
  • Wounds and Injuries/therapy


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