McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Odette Overton

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Major and Classification

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

  • William Breland, Ph.D.

Department

  • Dornsife: Psychology

McNair Project

Helping the Helper: Predicting Therapist Resilience to Vicarious Trauma

Abstract
Good mental health of the therapist is essential in delivering effective treatment. However, those who work with sex offenders are at risk of developing vicarious trauma (VT). Numerous protective measures to combat VT and promote therapist resiliency have been identified, including length of time in career, amount of clinical supervision, clinical setting, job satisfaction, amount of perceived peer support, and self- care. Nonetheless, the minimal amount of literature on VT in therapists has failed to produce consistent results and thus warrants further research. A valid instrument directly measuring VT does not exist, and thus we constructed a questionnaire using adapted items from measures previously used to evaluate VT, which was distributed online using a data collecting system. The measure was validated using an exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Findings from simple regression analyses indicate that Social Support, Maintenance, Exercise, and Job Satisfaction are all predictors of VT.