Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Direct Care Workers Working with Juveniles

Brittany Anne Shaughnessy, Walden University

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on the development of vicarious traumatization (VT) and burnout among direct care staff working in juvenile justice residential facilities. Measures used included the ACE module of the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System historical to assess for ACEs, the Trauma and Attachment Belief Scale (TABS) to measure VT, and Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) to measure burnout. Workplace organization was also included in data collection and analysis as a covariate as past research has indicated a relationship between workplace organization and burnout and VT. A covariate of workplace organization was measured using the Workplace Organization Indices; 163 individuals completed online surveys. Data analysis included a series of independent sample t-tests to analyze group differences in scores on the MBI-HSS and TABS between those participants with ACEs and those with none. A univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to analyze the impact of the type of ACEs on scores for VT and burnout. Findings indicated a significant relationship between the existence of ACEs and higher scores for depersonalization and emotional exhaustion in burnout as well as VT. The ACE categories of sexual abuse and workplace organization were the only variables found to have a significant impact on depersonalization and emotional exhaustion in terms of burnout and VT. Implications indicate those with sexual abuse histories may be at higher risk of burnout and VT. Workplace organization was also a significant factor to consider in terms of the prevention of burnout and VT. Findings point to the importance of facilities to offer resources for those with past trauma and create a workplace culture which can help prevent burnout and VT.