Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Herbert Exum, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Caroline Wilde, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dinorah Martinez-Tyson, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Committee Member

Amy Menna, Ph.D.


Addiction is a prevalent disorder and is on the rise. Addiction has serious symptomology and can negatively impact an individual’s life in several areas. Not only can the person addicted become negatively impacted, but the addiction professional that treats this disorder can become negatively impacted as well. Because there is often a high co-occurrence of addiction and trauma among addiction clients, this intensifies the clinical profile of such clients which compounds the risk for addiction professionals. It is the addiction professional’s response to this combination of addiction and trauma that can cause these professionals to experience compassion fatigue.

Research has been done to examine compassion fatigue among a variety of populations, but there has been limited research specifically with addiction professionals. This study aims to add to the literature by focusing on addiction professional’s experiences with compassion fatigue and associated symptomology, and to explore the participant’s training and their self-care strategies in relation to compassion fatigue.

Seven addiction professionals in the Tampa Bay area participated in in-depth interviews that focused on their experiences with compassion fatigue, training, and self-care. The data collected was analyzed qualitatively using thematic analysis. Results indicated compassion fatigue was present among six out the seven participants and that there was a lack of training among these participants. All of the participants shared several self-care strategies they use to address compassion fatigue. The study concludes by providing implications of the research, limitations, and recommendations for future research.

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