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Attachment styles and compassion fatigue among the mental health clinicians of traumatized victims of terrorismChristine Racanelli
This study compared the construct of compassion fatigue with the role of attachment as a mediator among mental health clinicians working with victims of terrorism in the Israel and the New York metropolitan region. Differences between clinicians practicing within Israel (n = 31) and New York (n = 35), in terms of their symptoms of compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, and burnout, were not significant, as measured by multivariate analyses of variance. Based upon nonsignificant differences, mediational statistical tests could not be run and thus mediation did not hold. The data failed to support a significant difference between compassion fatigue and attachment avoidance or anxiety. Other findings suggest clinicians in Israel and New York manifested attenuated scores for compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction, and moderate to average scores for burnout. Results from the regression analyses suggest that Israeli clinicians also had significantly more avoidant attachment dimensions than their New York cohorts. The strongest predictors of compassion satisfaction were (a) low attachment anxiety and (b) sufficient clinical experience related to treating victims of trauma. The strongest predictors of burnout were (a) minimal clinical experience, (b) minimal experience working with trauma victims, and (c) greater avoidant attachment dimensions. This study further acknowledges the experience of compassion fatigue. While Israeli clinicians are typically familiar with the realm of trauma work, the events of 9/11 placed many U.S. clinicians in situations where they were conducting work for which they were either unprepared or untrained. With today's global threat of terrorism, training institutions including graduate schools, community agencies, hospitals, and other employers of mental health professionals have a duty to not only train clinicians for the delivery of trauma care, services, and treatment, but also to be aware of the potential consequences of compassion fatigue.
Social sciences; Psychology; Attachment; Compassion fatigue; Mental health clinicians; Terrorism; Trauma; Victims; Social work; Psychotherapy; 0452:Social work; 0622:Psychotherapy
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