Indirect trauma exposure and secondary traumatic stress among professionals: Mediating role of empathy and cognitive trauma processing
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Uniwersytet Łódzki, Instytut Psychologii
Submission date: 2022-12-14
Final revision date: 2023-02-28
Acceptance date: 2023-04-01
Online publication date: 2024-02-28
Publication date: 2024-02-28
Corresponding author
Paulina Michalska   

Uniwersytet Łódzki, Instytut Psychologii
Psychiatr Pol 2024;58(1):39-50
The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between indirect trauma exposure, empathy, cognitive trauma processing, and the symptoms of secondary traumatic stress (STS) in women who help people after experiencing violence.

The results obtained from 154 Polish female professionals representing three professional groups: therapists, social workers and probation officers were analyzed. The age of the respondents ranged from 26 to 67 years. The Secondary Traumatic Stress Inventory, the Empathic Sensitivity Scale, and the Cognitive Trauma Processing Scale were used. In addition, a survey including questions about secondary trauma exposure rates was developed (work experience, number of hours per week devoted to working with people who have experienced the trauma of violence, workload).

The results found STS symptoms to be positively correlated with trauma exposure indicators, empathy and cognitive coping strategies. Moreover, cognitive strategies mediate the relationship between indirect trauma exposure and STS symptoms

To reduce STS symptoms, it may be advisable to use self-care practices more often and to change the cognitive coping strategies from negative to positive.

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