Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson


Social Work


Social workers who work with traumatized clients have an increased risk of experiencing secondary traumatic stress (Sprang, Whitt-Woosley, & Clark, 2007). Up to 70% of workers reported at least one symptom of secondary traumatic stress in the past week (Bride, Robinson, Yegidis, & Figley, 2004). Secondary trauma was also believed to be a significant reason workers in the human services field left their employment (Bride, 2007). High turnover in human services organizations may lead to high recruiting and training costs and can also reduce the efficacy of services to clients (Harrison & Westwood, 2009). An intervention that was found to be successful in reducing the symptoms of secondary traumatic stress for social workers was self-care (Lee & Miller, 2013). The research identified five main types of self-care including physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and professional. The findings supported the standpoint that self-care was effective in reducing symptoms of secondary traumatic stress for social workers. Being proactive and building a strong foundation of support with family, friends, colleagues and other professionals may be a key to reduce the effects of the stress experienced by social workers (Bloomquist et al., 2015; Eastwood & Ecklund, 2008; Killian, 2008). By reducing the risks of STS for social workers, employees may experience increased well-being (Goncher, Sherman, Barnett, & Haskins, 2013), employers may have greater staff retention (Bride, 2007), while clients will receive more consistent and a higher quality of care (Harrison & Westwood, 2009).

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