Personality Predictors of Compassion Fatigue in Long-term Care Environments
Quality healthcare and the professionals that provide it are an important part of American society. Compassion fatigue can significantly impact the quality of care for patients and also the quality of life for the caregiver. Little is known about the effect that individual and demographic characteristics may have on the etiology of the compassion fatigue syndrome. This study investigated the prevalence of, and the relationships between, personality types, demographic characteristics and compassion fatigue. A correlational and comparative research design was employed. Long-term care workers, including registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, certified medication aides, and certified nurse aides (N = 234) from 7 facilities across the state of Texas participated in the study. Findings indicated that 70% of the participants were in the “high risk” category for compassion fatigue. Personality was a significant predictor of compassion fatigue. Multiple regression showed that Big Five personality traits were significantly related to a risk for compassion fatigue, accounting for 37% of the variance (p < .001). Demographic groupings of tenure, licensure type, hours worked, and number of patients cared for were also assessed for their influence on compassion fatigue. Employment tenure was the only demographic grouping directly related to compassion fatigue in this study. The less-than-1-year-of-tenure group showed the lowest level of compassion fatigue and demonstrated a significantly lower level than all of the other comparison groups. Additional findings and implications are discussed.