Date of Graduation

Winter 12-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)


School of Nursing and Health Professions




Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Dr. Dhara Meghani

Second Advisor

Dr. David Martinez

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Seed


Compassion, a virtue of the helping profession, can be jeopardized by a provider’s continuous exposure to the trauma experiences of others. The impact of burnout, secondary stress and compassion fatigue on a mental healthcare provider’s work and personal life has been increasingly studied due to negative ramifications on our community healers. The present study used a cross-sectional design to survey mental healthcare providers across specialty and discipline in efforts to gain a better understanding of the relationship between a provider’s degree of compassion fatigue and specific demographic variables, physical health and their spirituality. One hundred and thirty-seven participants across the United States completed the electronic survey, which included a demographic questionnaire, the Professional Quality of Life Scale, and the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale. Participants represented a diverse sample with respect to age, years of experience, and educational background.

The majority of mental healthcare providers in this study reported experiencing average levels of compassion fatigue. Providers who earned a doctoral degree as compared with those who earned a master’s degree reported greater compassion fatigue, while there was no significant relationship between compassion fatigue and gender, age, race, number of years in the field, or employment setting. Mental healthcare providers who scored higher on compassion fatigue were more likely to be diagnosed with a physical or mental health condition. Participants with greater compassion fatigue were more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances, marginally significantly more likely to be obese, and exercised less frequently. Providers who reported greater spirituality experienced less compassion fatigue. These findings support the need to increase awareness around the phenomenon of compassion fatigue through the promotion of health and healthy coping styles to sustain the expression of compassion.