Vicarious Trauma Social Work 9271

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Social working is a field thatrequires a lot of efforts and mobilization. If a person is a social worker,he/she needs to move around occasionally in order to reach people that are inneed of help. Due to this, they are always going through physiological andpsychological stress, that is highly associated with burn out. High burn out isalso associated with a high turn around rate, which means people start to leavethe job and start to search for better opportunities. Another term used thisfor the situation is known as “compassion Fatigue” which means aninescapable kind of stress in the social work profession, especially withproviding care experts who have a high level of exposure to people encounteringsome type of mental, therapeutic, or social injury and additionally are injurysurvivors themselves. This paper aims to discuss vicarious trauma to socialworkers and its effect on the burnout and turn around rate. 

Main Body

It has been discussed that since social workers are highly exposed to the traumatic situation of others, such as rape, accident or killing, they are more exposed to stress than other people. The stress in them causes various problems. This examination analyzes the initial and intelligent impacts of job stress, work independence, and social help in foreseeing burnout and turnover goal among social workers. A study was conducted in this regard. The investigation incorporated a subsample of 346 social workers recognized from an irregular cross-sectional overview of 1,500 California state-enrolled social workers. Balanced for age, sexual orientation, authoritative residency, and yearly compensation, basic condition examinations uncovered that job stress had a positive direct impact on burnout (Kim & Stoner, 2008).

The factors of social help andemployment self-sufficiency had a negative direct impact on turnoverexpectation, however not on burnout. Results demonstrated that activityself-sufficiency cooperated with job stress in foreseeing burnout, while socialhelp associated with job stress in anticipating turnover goal (Kim &Stoner, 2008). Study results recommend that making decentralized employmentconditions is basic for forestalling burnout, and that building steadyoccupation conditions is expected to hold social workers who are encounteringhigh job stress.

It has been said that the level ofexposure to the stress may likewise incorporate the nature, length, recurrence,and extent of contact with survivors.  Inthis condition, where the recurrence and power of contact was high, thesesocial specialists experienced incessant side effects related with vicariousinjury, for example, maltreatment of synthetic substances, investing lessenergy with clients, lateness, and non-appearance to their jobs, making proficientmistakes, being reproachful of others, and depersonalizing clients (Morse etal., 2012).

There have been various systematic researches that aim to explore the link between burn out and high turn around rate in social workers due to elevated stress caused by vicarious trauma. Staff burnout is progressively seen as a worry in the social wellness field. In this article, the researchers initially analyze the degree to which burnout is an issue for emotional health in social settings regarding two basic issues: its predominance and its relationship with a scope of troubling results for staff, associations, and clients. The researchers in this way give an extensive audit of the restricted research in an attempt to remediate burnout among social well-being staff (Figley, 2013). The researchers settled the conclusions with proposals for the improvement and thorough testing of intercession ways to deal with addressing this critical zone of working.

Social workers are in danger for encountering burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS) because of the idea of their work and the settings inside which they work. Little consideration has been paid to the variables inside a social worker’s control that may counteract burnout and STS and enhance compassion fulfillment. Empathy, which is a mix of physiological and subjective procedures, might be an apparatus to help to address the burnout and STS. An article writes about the discoveries of an investigation of social workers (N = 173) that investigated the connection between the segments of empathy, burnout, STS, and compassion fulfillment utilizing the Empathy Assessment Index and the Professional Quality of Life instruments (Wagaman, Geiger, Shockley & Segal, 2015).

Through above-stated research, itwas speculated that larger amounts of empathy would be related to lowerdimensions of burnout and STS and more elevated amounts of compassionfulfillment. Discoveries propose that segments of empathy may anticipate ordiminish burnout and STS while expanding compassion fulfillment, and thatempathy ought to be consolidated into preparing and instruction throughout thecourse of a social worker’s vocational abilities (Wagaman, Geiger, Shockley& Segal, 2015). Thus, it can be said that the stress experienced by socialworkers is responsible for their elevated stress levels and burnout. Therefore,they tend to leave their jobs.

To explore this phenomenon in depth,there have been more studies conducted on the topic that is able to give adifferent view of this phenomenon. Such as a child safety based social work isrecognized as an exceptionally stressful occupation, with high turnover andpoor maintenance of staff being a noteworthy concern. A research paper featurestopic that rose up out of discoveries of sixty-five articles that wereincorporated as a major aspect of an orderly writing survey. The surveyconcentrated on the assessment of research discoveries, which consideredindividual and other components related to flexibility or burnout in childsafety social work staff. The outcomes distinguished a scope of individual andorganizational topics for staff in child assurance social work. Nine subjectswere distinguished altogether (McFadden, Campbell & Taylor, 2014). Theseare sorted under ‘Individual’ and ‘Authoritative’ topics.

Furthermore, the topics werearranged as individual included the individual history of abuse, preparing andreadiness for child welfare, adapting, horrendous secondary stress, compassionweariness and compassion fulfillment. Those named authoritative includedworkload, social help and supervision, hierarchical culture and atmosphere,authoritative and proficient responsibility, and employment fulfillment ordisappointment. The scope of variables is examined with suggestions andterritories for future research are featured (McFadden, Campbell & Taylor,2014). This meta-analysis is a good indicator of the idea that burnout andincreased turn around rates are among a few issues caused by stress due to thejob as a social worker.

Another investigation analyzed the feeling of burnout among 126 social workers who specifically treat children and youths inside the human professions of services. Burnout was explored in connection to social workers’ statistic attributes (age, family status, instruction, and rank at work), extraneous and inborn work conditions, and social help by associates, coordinate chiefs, and association supervisors. Discoveries demonstrated, all things considered, a moderate power of burnout among these social workers who straightforwardly treat children and young people. Burnout was essentially adversely corresponded with age, rank, characteristic (mental) work conditions, and social help inside the association. Associate and manager support contributed altogether to clarifying the variance in burnout force. Different clarifications have also been done in this regard(Hamama, 2012).

With the environmental change, social workers and other psychological well-being experts may wind up living and working in conditions inclined to cataclysmic events. The term shared awful stress (SdTS) contains parts of post-horrendous stress and secondary injury, and mirrors experts’ double presentation to aggregate awful mishaps. With an end goal to investigate and further approve the develop of SdTS, an example of 244 social workers from New Orleans were contemplated utilizing way explanatory demonstrating regarding the individual and expert effect of Hurricane Katrina. Potential hazard factors included connection style, presentation to conceivably horrendous life occasions and persisting distress credited to Hurricane Katrina. Social workers’ flexibility was analyzed for its job in intervening the connection between these hazard elements and SdTS. As speculated, shaky connection, more noteworthy presentation to possibly horrible life occasions by and large and distress identified with the occasions encompassing Hurricane Katrina were prescient of more elevated amounts of SdTS (Tosone, McTighe, & Bauwens, 2014).

Shaky connection and persisting distress credited to Katrinalikewise altogether anticipated lower dimensions of flexibility, howeverpresentation to conceivably horrendous life occasions did not. Flexibility wasfound to intercede the connection between shaky connection, continuing distressascribed to Katrina and SdTS however not the connection between presentation toconceivably horrible life occasions and SdTS (Tosone, McTighe, & Bauwens,2014).


Through all the discussion on the available literature, it can be stated that Social workers are directly exposed to severe forms of stress and mental health issues. This could be the reason due to which burnout and turn around has been observed in the social workers. Furthermore, there is a need to discuss why this problem has been observed, and how it can be managed. Moreover, there is a need to devise policies for the mental health of social workers, in order to provide them with a suitable environment to work in.


  • Figley, C. R. (2013). Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. Routledge.
  • Hamama, L. (2012). Burnout in Social Workers Treating Children as Related to Demographic Characteristics, Work Environment, and Social Support. Social Work Research36(2), 113-125. doi: 10.1093/swr/svs003
  • Kim, H., & Stoner, M. (2008). Burnout and Turnover Intention Among Social Workers: Effects of Role Stress, Job Autonomy, and Social Support. Administration In Social Work32(3), 5-25. doi: 10.1080/03643100801922357
  • McFadden, P., Campbell, A., & Taylor, B. (2014). Resilience and Burnout in Child Protection Social Work: Individual and Organisational Themes from a Systematic Literature Review. British Journal Of Social Work45(5), 1546-1563. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bct210
  • Morse, G., Salyers, M.P., Rollins, A.L. et al. Adm Policy Ment Health (2012) 39: 341.
  • Tosone, C., McTighe, J. P., & Bauwens, J. (2014). Shared traumatic stress among social workers inthe aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. British Journal of Social Work45(4), 1313-1329.
  • Wagaman, M., Geiger, J., Shockley, C., & Segal, E. (2015). The Role of Empathy in Burnout, Compassion Satisfaction, and Secondary Traumatic Stress among Social Workers. Social Work60(3), 201-209. doi: 10.1093/sw/swv014


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Approximately 250 words