An Investigation into Burnout and Compassion Fatigue in Personnel Support Occupations


  1. Coulthard, J.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN)
In 2007, the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP) requested that a benchmark study be conducted on chaplains in the military, examining current issues and practices in each of The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) countries - Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The report made several recommendations for future research that would address some of the more pressing concerns and issues regarding chaplains in the Canadian Forces (CF). One of those suggestions was to investigate the extent to which CF chaplains experience stress and burnout in their profession and the possible strategies for prevention. Preliminary review of the literature has indicated that the challenges and issues experienced by chaplains in the CF are reflective of their working in a helping profession and thus, are likely to also be experienced by others who are similarly engaged in caring work. As such, it was thereby determined that the analysis should be extended to include all personnel in the CF who are engaged in personnel support occupations. Thus, this paper is an investigation into burnout and compassion fatigue in what will be referred to as personnel support providers in the military or human service providers in the civilian sector. The paper first provides definitions of the key constructs of burnout and compassion fatigue. Following this discussion, the standard measurement instruments employed in the research for both constructs are detailed. A review of

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Report Number
DRDC-CORA-TM-2008-034 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Oct 2008
Number of Pages
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