Staff development and secondary traumatic stress among AIDS staff
Sullivan, Lorraine L.
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This study explored the relationship between staff development in AIDS service organizations and the specific reactions of staff as manifested by secondary traumatic stress (STS) and turnover intention (TI). It was hypothesized that there was a relationship between staff development and secondary traumatic stress, that the type of staff development activity was relevant (training, education, social support) and impacted staff desire to stay on the job. It was also hypothesized that secondary traumatic stress influenced the turnover intention of staff. A total of 322 respondents, currently providing direct service to People with HIV/AIDS (PWAs), from 29 community based AIDS service organizations in New York City completed a four part questionnaire that included the Compassion Fatigue/Satisfaction Scale (CF/S), a scale of staff development activities, demographics, and qualitative questions regarding current work experience.;Analysis resulted in the use of the three dimensions of CF/S, (compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, burnout) instead of one score for secondary traumatic stress. Results indicated staff development was significantly related to compassion satisfaction, and burnout, but not compassion fatigue. Social support, training and education were all significantly related to compassion satisfaction. Training and social support were related to burnout. A significant relationship existed between all components of staff development and turnover intention. Turnover intention was also significantly related to all dimensions of secondary traumatic stress. Results of this study highlight the importance of varied and quality staff development in ASOs to enhance retention, decrease burnout and increase compassion satisfaction. The study represents the first time secondary traumatic stress has been linked to workplace conditions such as staff development. The implications of this study are relevant for design and management of staff development in ASOs, the preparation, professional development, and self-care of direct service staff in the HIV/AIDS field, and further theoretical and conceptual clarification of the phenomena of secondary traumatic stress.