Date of Conferral





Human Services


Tina Jaeckle


Past research has revealed that mental health practitioners experience challenging reactions in the course of their professional interactions with traumatized clients in the clinical work setting. The demands of caring, without commensurate replenishment, deplete the practitioners' empathy and produces forms of apathy and indifference towards the suffering of others, known as compassion fatigue. This quantitative, exploratory, cross sectional study examined the predictive relationships between compassion fatigue and work attitudes in primary care physicians located in West Africa. The etiological model of compassion fatigue and constructivist self-development theory (CSDT) formed the conceptual framework for examining clinician responses to trauma-related experiences in the clinical work environment. The main research question in this study was: How well does the level of compassion fatigue in practitioners predict their work attitudes in the clinical work setting? Survey data collected from 67 primary care physicians were analyzed using a linear regression modeling procedure. Results showed that practitioners' compassion fatigue was a statistically significant predictor of their work attitudes, F(1,65) = 7.78, p < .05, R-² = .107. Results also confirmed that compassion satisfaction moderated the effect of compassion fatigue in practitioners. The data revealed that higher levels of compassion satisfaction was related to more positive levels of attitudes toward work. This study provided empirical information regarding the predictive relationships between compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, and work attitudes. The results can be used to promote social change by providing health-care leaders in developing countries information that supports the need for activities, services, and support programs that enhance compassion satisfaction in physicians, to improve work attitudes. Such programs would promote further social change by improving the physicians' well-being, and mitigating the effects of compassion fatigue.