Those who are not directly in danger themselves can and do experience negative effects, sometimes at higher rates than those directly exposed. These individuals who experience indirect exposure are often those who work in "helping" professions. Helping professionals include psychologists, physicians, nurses, social workers, and first responders, among others. Joinson (1992) described a phenomenon unique to helping professionals, which was termed compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue describes these negative affects experienced by helping professionals as a cumulative process. These negative changes can be related to mood and/or a transformation in cognitions. Further, these changes are the result of the empathy and emotionally intense contact with people who experienced a traumatic event, which results in maladaptive psychological consequences that influence the ability to perform the role of a "helper" (Bride, Robinson, Yegidis, & Figley, 2004; Figley, 1995; McCann & Pearlman, 1990; McHolm, 2006; Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995; Stamm, 1995). To measure compassion fatigue, the Professional Quality of Life Scale (Stamm, 2005, 2010) has emerged as the most widely used assessment of compassion fatigue. However, not enough theoretical information and psychometric data on the ProQOL exist to support compassion fatigue as the construct to explain the experiences of those in helping professions. The present study examines the most widely used measure of compassion fatigue, the Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL-5; Stamm, 2010). Specifically, the current study examines the factor validity of the ProQOL-5 using confirmatory factor analysis. In light of the lack of model fit, the construct of compassion fatigue offers a unique and worthy view of the negative consequences of helping others. As a result, the current study proposes a novel approach to clarify a method for measurement and clear-up conceptual overlaps between related constructs. This novel method uses the framework of the information processing model of Whiting (1969).
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Marks, Madeline, "Re-Conceptualizing Compassion Fatigue: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5278.