Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Margaret K. Glenn.


This study explored the experiences of career satisfaction, burnout, and compassion fatigue in public school educators working with students in Primary/Kindergarten through grade 12 in schools in Nova Scotia and West Virginia. The research participants included 184 teachers, counselors, and administrators employed by the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board in Nova Scotia and Monongalia County Board of Education in West Virginia. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing the constructs of compassion satisfaction, burnout, and compassion fatigue that have been conceptualized in this study as indicators of healthy career engagement, career disengagement, and career overengagement, respectively. Participants also responded to a demographic survey and to questionnaires exploring history and residual effects of direct and indirect traumatic experiences. Measures included the Professional Quality of Life: Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Subscales - Revision III (ProQOL-CSF-R III), History of Traumatic Experiences (HTE), and Impact of Events Scale - Revised (IES-R) for direct and indirect trauma. Previous career engagement studies with educators focused on career satisfaction and burnout. Very few addressed educator trauma or compassion fatigue. In the current study, evidence of career satisfaction, burnout, and compassion fatigue was found across all educator subgroups. Burnout and compassion fatigue were significantly related with current traumatization status deriving from a history of direct and indirect trauma. Multiple regression analyses provided limited support to the hypothesis that elementary educators would exhibit higher rates of compassion fatigue than middle and high school educators. The hypothesis that classroom teachers at all grade levels would report higher levels of compassion fatigue than counselors and administrators was not supported. Nor was support obtained for the hypothesis that educators with fewer years of experience would be more vulnerable to compassion fatigue than those with lengthier career paths. The inability of demographic characteristics to differentially predict the 26.09% of the sample who scored in the upper quartile for risk for burnout, and 33.15% who scored in the upper quartile for risk for compassion fatigue, suggests that prevention and intervention programs should target all educators across demographic subgroups.