Assessing Secondary Trauma, Compassion Satisfaction, and Burnout – Implications for Professional Education for Asian-American Social Workers

Kenny Kwong


The present study explored work-related stress and career experiences of Asian-American social workers and assessed if their demographic characteristics, beliefs and orientations (altruism, idealism, and self-compassion), and work-related stressors might impact their professional quality of life (secondary trauma, compassion satisfaction, and burnout) and job-related health problems.  Two hundred and eight (208) Asian social workers and students participated in a comprehensive online survey by providing basic demographic and work-related information and completing a set of standardized scales to assess their career experiences and work-related stress, as well as their psychological and physical well-being.  Bivariate analyses and stepwise multiple regression analyses were used to estimate models that best predicted their experiences of secondary trauma, compassion satisfaction, burnout, perceived stress, and job-related health problems.  The findings showed that higher perceived stress was associated with higher secondary trauma, burnout, job-related health problems, and lower compassion satisfaction.  Work-related problems/stressors emerged as a very strong predictor of burnout and job-related health problems.  Higher self-compassion was related to higher compassion satisfaction and lower secondary trauma and burnout.  Self-compassion was found to be a very strong predictor of perceived stress.  Implications of the findings for professional education and career development for Asian-American social workers were discussed.

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Copyright (c) 2018 International Journal of Higher Education

International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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