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Vicarious Traumatization in the Workplace: A Meta-Analysis on the Impact of Social Support

Healthy employees have been linked with decreased absenteeism, lower turnover, less accidents in the workplace, higher employee engagement and commitment, and greater employee resilience. However, there are many occupational hazards which can compromise the health of employees, leading to negative consequences for organisations and service users. Helping professionals are often exposed to indirect trauma through working with traumatised individuals. This puts them at risk of developing Vicarious Traumatisation, which can result in disruptions to schemas, depletion, symptoms of hyperarousal, avoidance, negative changes to cognition and mood, poor concentration, flashbacks and dreams, and intrusive thoughts or memories associated to the trauma of another. A professional will react differently in response to Vicarious Traumatic Exposure due to intrinsic features of the individual and multiple characteristics of the work being done. Therefore, whether Vicarious Traumatisation occurs depends on an interplay between both internal and external influences. The present study examined the impact of social support on the outcome of Vicarious Traumatisation by running a meta-analysis on 21 studies which analysed this relationship. Results showed that the overall effect size suggested a significant, yet small negative relationship between social support and the negative outcomes of Vicarious Traumatic Exposure. However, due to the I-squared value being so large, the significance of this relationship is questionable. Therefore, further analysis needs to occur to examine where this dispersion is occurring, either through moderator or subgroup analysis.
Type of thesis
Whitton, M. (2018). Vicarious Traumatization in the Workplace: A Meta-Analysis on the Impact of Social Support (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11962
The University of Waikato
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