Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Catherine Y. Chang

Second Advisor

Melissa Zeligman

Third Advisor

Franco Dispenza

Fourth Advisor

Rafe McCullough


Secondary exposure to trauma has been found to be related to increased burnout and secondary traumatic stress among professionals who work with clients who have experienced trauma (Bride, 2007; Brady, 2008; Peltzer, Matseke, & Louw, 2014; Shoji et al., 2015). Interpersonal factors such as self-efficacy and empathy may support those who experience secondary exposure to trauma by reducing burnout and secondary traumatic stress, and increasing compassion satisfaction (Shakespeare-Finch, Rees, & Armstrong, 2015; Wagaman, Geiger, Shockley, & Segal, 2015). School counselors have not been included in previous studies related to secondary exposure to trauma; however, their professional role in providing support to students in schools places them in direct contact with children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events. This study investigated the relationships among secondary exposure to trauma, self-efficacy, empathy, and professional quality of life (i.e. burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction) for school counselors. A correlation analysis indicated that self-efficacy and empathy were both significantly correlated with burnout and compassion satisfaction. Self-efficacy and secondary exposure to trauma were both significantly correlated with secondary traumatic stress. Hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that self-efficacy and empathy were predictors of burnout and compassion satisfaction and self-efficacy and secondary exposure to trauma were predictors of secondary traumatic stress. Implications and recommendations for professional school counselors and school counselor educators are provided.