Covariates of burnout and secondary traumatisation in professionals working with child-survivors of trauma: A research synthesis

Maria Vang, Christina Gleeson, Maj Hansen, M Shevlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been demonstrated that working with trauma-exposed children increase the risk for developing secondary traumatisation and burnout. High correlations between secondary traumatisation and burnout have been reported, suggesting an empirical overlap between the constructs. The purpose of the present review was to synthesise research investigating covariates of burn-out and secondary traumatisation to explore whether this overlap extends to covariates. 7 research databases were searched for studies investigating covariates of both burn-out and secondary traumatisation. Identified studies were screened in accordance with predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria, resulting in 13 articles being included for further review. 14 covariates were examined in two or more of the included studies and were synthesised according to the ‘levels of evidence approach’. Some individual and operational factors appeared to be equally related to burnout and secondary traumatisation. There was a predominance of equivocal evidence for and against the salience of different covariates as well as an over-representation of demographic factors compared to organizational and operational factors in the current literature. More research investigating the nature of the overlap between burnout and secondary traumatisation is needed, and future research would benefit from integrating covariates supported in the work- and organizational literature with covariates from the psychotraumatological literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1981-2001
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number7
Early online date1 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Secondary traumatisation,
  • burnout
  • child protection
  • systematic review


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