Date of Paper

4-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

David Roseborough

Abstract

The purpose of this research project was to illuminate possible mitigating factors of compassion fatigue for child protection social workers. The level of trauma that child protection social workers intervene at increases the likelihood that the social worker will experience compassion fatigue. Past research has pointed out mitigating factors of compassion fatigue such as: learning about compassion fatigue, developing supportive relationships and emotional debriefing to name a few. Very little research has been done specific to this phenomenon in child protection. This study used a survey distributed to six Southern Minnesotan county child protection units, to ask questions about respondents‟ understandings of compassion fatigue and what mitigates it and how can their workplaces help support this process in the future. All of the respondents were able to define what compassion fatigue meant to them and the large majority was able to recognize having experienced compassion fatigue within their child protection role. Less than half of the respondents reported currently experiencing compassion fatigue and the mitigating factors that the majority found helpful were developing and maintaining support networks inside and outside of work as well as emotional debriefing.

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