Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Jennifer R Adams


Compassion fatigue is defined as the syndrome experienced by a helper who meets the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD with a qualifying criterion A1 event that is not personal experience, but vicarious learning about a traumatic event that was experienced by a person with whom the therapist has a helper/client relationship. The prevention of compassion fatigue is considered important due to the pain associated with distress experienced by the helper and because it may result in a helper who is less able to provide effective treatment for clients. The sense of coherence (salutogenic) model proposed by Aaron Antonovsky (1987) identifies meaning, manageability and comprehensibility as facets contributing to the ability of an individual to manage a high stress load well and move toward the positive end of a health continuum. The purpose of this study was to investigate if a sense of coherence provides protection against compassion fatigue. Additionally, the correlation of training in trauma therapy, past traumatic experience, supervision and counseling experience with compassion fatigue was examined. After controlling for social desirability, a medium negative correlation between sense of coherence and compassion fatigue was found in a group of 131 individuals who provide support to victims of trauma. Contrary to previously published research and the hypothesis for this study, a correlation was not found between compassion fatigue and training in trauma therapy, past traumatic experience, supervision or counseling experience with victims of trauma.