Date of Conferral

2023

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Alethea Baker

Abstract

AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate individual differences between mental health professionals with varied levels of clinical experience and their personal levels of vicarious trauma (VT) and vicarious resilience (VR) as measured by the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (STSS) and the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), respectively. A sample of 161 mental health professionals in New York State completed the scales and separate one-way between-subjects ANOVA tests examined the relationship between variables. A test for the moderating effect of the percentage of trauma clients on the clinician’s caseloads was also conducted between experience level of the clinician and their own levels of VT and VR. This study built upon existing research that suggested that working with trauma clients can precipitate VT and/or VR in the therapist. The data of this study revealed a significant difference between mental health professionals at difference levels of clinical experience with regard to their personal levels of VT and VR; clinicians with less experience had a higher trauma score than those with 5+ years’ experience, The data did not support that the percentage of trauma clients on a clinician’s caseload moderated this relationship. This study can lead to positive social change by bringing awareness to the potential for VT in clinicians, thereby demonstrating the need for support programs and trainings for said clinicians.

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