Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress among Child Welfare Workers Who Experience a Maltreatment Fatality on their Caseload

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Abstract

Annually, 1,000-2,000 child welfare workers experience the death of a child client. The child welfare field has paid increasing attention to the impact of workplace trauma events on the psychological distress of child welfare workers. In this article the author assesses the relationship between experiencing a maltreatment fatality and workers' posttraumatic stress among a multi-state sample of 385 child welfare workers. Results indicate that a maltreatment fatality is not associated with higher rates of posttraumatic stress. Among child welfare workers who experienced a fatality, those who feel greater culpability for the death report higher levels of posttraumatic stress. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-387
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Evidence-Based Social Work
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • Child fatality
  • child welfare workers
  • posttraumatic stress symptoms

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