Conducting research on child maltreatment: effects on researchers

Violence Vict. Spring 1996;11(1):65-9.


This report discusses the potential negative psychological consequences of conducting child maltreatment research on the researchers themselves. Illustrations of these effects are drawn from the experiences of a study of child maltreatment. Common themes of anger, sadness, frustration, and powerlessness emerged as reactions to reviewing case records of child maltreatment. Just as study protocols must include procedures for protecting the subjects of research, so they should include methods for helping the researchers cope with emotional distress brought about by their work. Several strategies are suggested for ensuring that research staff receive sufficient support to minimize the negative effects of conducting research on sensitive topics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Research Personnel / psychology*
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Social Support