Protective Factors in Resilient Volunteers Facing Compassion Fatigue

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Mar 9;17(5):1769. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17051769.


Volunteers may be exposed to the negative consequences of dealing with human suffering, such as compassion fatigue. However, very little is known about the protective factors that contribute to their resilience. The aim of this study was to analyze the extent to which different strengths (psychological endurance, purpose, and social support), orientations to happiness, and compassion satisfaction predict volunteers' resilient outcomes (subjective well-being and post-traumatic growth) and compassion fatigue. Participants were 116 Spanish Red Cross volunteers (77.8% women). They were separately classified into three groups (low, medium, and high) according to the 33rd and 66th percentile scores on each resilient outcome. Univariate analyses of variance and post-hoc comparisons computed separately showed significant differences in most factors analyzed, except compassion fatigue. Logistic regressions revealed that endurance, organization support, and eudaimonia allowed for the correct classification of 83.3% of those high in post-traumatic growth (82.2% of the true-positives and 84.4% of the true-negatives). In addition to endurance and organization support, purpose was the strongest predictor of well-being (85.7% were correctly classified, 82.8% of the true-negatives and 88.2% of the true-positives). Finally, lower endurance predicted compassion fatigue (65.7% and 61.3% of the true-negatives and 69.4% of the true-positives). Findings indicate ways to promote resilience among volunteers.

Keywords: compassion fatigue; compassion satisfaction; happiness; post-traumatic growth; resilience; volunteers; well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Compassion Fatigue*
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Protective Factors
  • Volunteers