Compassion Satisfaction and Burnout Are Related to Psychiatric Nurses' Antipathy Towards Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)

J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2022 Aug 8;10783903221116132. doi: 10.1177/10783903221116132. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Many psychiatric patients engage in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI). Despite this, studies show that psychiatric nurses display a stigma toward patients who engage in self-harm, often due to the fact that nurses report a lack of understanding about the behavior. In addition, nurses can struggle with professional quality of life (ProQOL). The purpose of this study was to provide an educational intervention on NSSI and measure its effects on antipathy as well as to determine if ProQOL has an impact on overall antipathy.

Methods: A sample of psychiatric nurses was recruited and randomly assigned to either the educational intervention or control group. Both groups took the Self-Harm Antipathy Scale (SHAS) and ProQOL-V; the intervention group was asked to repeat the SHAS immediately following an educational video, and the control was asked to repeat the SHAS at least 2 weeks later. Qualitative data were also collected.

Results: The ProQOL-V CS subscale and pretest SHAS total scores (n = 23, r = -0.432, p = .039) and SHAS Needs Function (NF) (n = 23, r = -0.454, p = .029) showed a significant moderate negative correlation. There was also a significant moderate positive correlation between the ProQOL-V Burnout subscale and SHAS NF pretest scores (n = 23, r = 0.483, r = 0.02).

Conclusions: A relationship between high compassion satisfaction and low antipathy, as well as between high burnout and high antipathy, particularly in the area of understanding the reasons patients self-harm (NF) was found. Educating nurses on the reasons for NSSI may reduce their antipathy. It may also be beneficial to support nurses to prevent burnout.

Keywords: antipathy; burnout; nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI); nurses; stigma.