Title

Exploring resilience and mindfulness as preventative factors for psychological distress burnout and secondary traumatic stress among human service professionals

Date of this Version

2016

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Citation only

Harker, R., Pidgeon, A. M., Klaassen, F., & King, S. (2016). Exploring resilience and mindfulness as preventative factors for psychological distress burnout and secondary traumatic stress among human service professionals. Work : A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 54(3), 631-637.

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© 2016 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

ISSN

1051-9815 print, 1875-9270 online

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Human service professionals are concerned with the intervention and empowerment of vulnerable social populations. The human service industry is laden with employment-related stressors and emotionally demanding interactions, which can lead to deleterious effects, such as burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Little attention has been given to developing knowledge of what might enable human service workers to persist and thrive. Cultivating and sustaining resilience can buffer the impact of occupational stressors on human service professionals. One of the psychological factors associated with cultivating resilience is mindfulness.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this current research is to improve our understanding of the relationship between resilience, mindfulness, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and psychological distress among human service professionals.

METHODS: The current study surveyed 133 human service professionals working in the fields of psychology, social work, counseling, youth and foster care work to explore the predictive relationship between resilience, mindfulness, and psychological distress.

RESULTS: The results showed that higher levels of resilience were a significant predictor of lower levels of psychological distress, burnout and secondary traumatic stress. In addition, higher levels of mindfulness were a significant predictor of lower levels of psychological distress and burnout.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that cultivating resilience and mindfulness in human service professionals may assist in preventing psychological distress burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Limitations of this study are discussed together with implications for future research.

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This document has been peer reviewed.