The Relationship between Psychological Flexibility, CompassionFatigue, Secondary Traumatic Stress, and Burnout in Community Healthcare Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Committee Chair

Cheryl Chance

Committee Member

Jesse Florang

Committee Member

Gail Frankle


The overarching objective of this study was to investigate the impact of individual psychological flexibility (PF) based on three fundamental constructs: secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout experienced by healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were gathered from healthcare workers in the United States in ambulatory community health centers. Participants were drawn from public databases of demographic information, professional and social platforms such as LinkedIn, licensing and professional listservs, and healthcare organization associations. Data sources included online self-report questionnaires using the AAQ-II and ProQOL. An analysis was conducted to determine if a relationship exists between PF and compassion fatigue (CF), secondary traumatic stress (STS), and burnout. Furthermore, data were reviewed and compiled for healthcare leaders, consultants, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders to analyze the benefit of developing psychological flexibility as a tool to promote emotional and psychological wellness and resiliency in their staff and organizations.