Compassion fatigue is a state of detachment and isolation experienced when healthcare providers repeatedly engage with patients in distress. Compassion fatigue can hinder empathy and cause extreme tension. Prior research suggests 73.8 % of genetic counselors are at moderate to high risk for compassion fatigue and approximately 1 in 4 have considered leaving the field as a result Injeyan et al. (Journal of Genetic Counseling, 20, 526–540, 2011). Empirical data to establish a reliable profile of genetic counselors at risk for compassion fatigue are limited. Thus the purpose of this study was to establish a profile by assessing relationships between state and trait anxiety, burnout, compassion satisfaction, selected demographics and compassion fatigue risk in practicing genetic counselors. Practicing genetic counselors (n = 402) completed an anonymous, online survey containing demographic questions, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Professional Quality of Life scale. Multiple regression analysis yielded four significant predictors which increase compassion fatigue risk (accounting for 48 % of the variance): higher levels of trait anxiety, burnout, and compassion satisfaction, and ethnicity other than Caucasian. Additional findings, study limitations, practice implications, and research recommendations are provided.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014, National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc.
- Compassion fatigue
- Counselor ethnicity
- Genetic counselor