Who is at Risk for Compassion Fatigue? An Investigation of Genetic Counselor Demographics, Anxiety, Compassion Satisfaction, and Burnout

Whiwon Lee, Patricia Mc Carthy Veach, Ian M. MacFarlane, Bonnie S. LeRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-370
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Burnout
  • Compassion fatigue
  • Counselor ethnicity
  • Genetic counselor
  • Satisfaction

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Who is at Risk for Compassion Fatigue? An Investigation of Genetic Counselor Demographics, Anxiety, Compassion Satisfaction, and Burnout'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this