This study examined the contribution of personal variables and resources (age, mastery, tolerance for ambiguity, and stressors), environmental resources (support from family and friends, colleague support), and professional-organizational resources (size of caseload with trauma victims, organizational commitment) to secondary traumatization. The sample consisted of 217 social workers employed at social service departments in Israel who worked with families in situations of distress and crisis and with adolescent girls at risk. The findings indicated that tolerance for ambiguity contributed most significantly to explaining the variance in secondary traumatization, followed by stressors. The size of the social workers’ caseload with trauma victims also contributed significantly to explaining the variance in secondary traumatization. In addition, an interaction was found between age and continuance commitment. Among younger social workers, a negative association was found between continuance commitment to the organization and secondary traumatization, whereas among older social workers the association was positive. However, the contribution of the other research variables (mastery, support from family and friends, and colleague support) to explaining the variance in secondary traumatization was not statistically significant. The findings highlight the important role of personal resources and professional-organizational resources in enabling therapists to cope with the negative implications of working with trauma victims.
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- secondary traumatization
- social workers