Identifying child protection workers at risk for secondary traumatization: A latent class analysis of the Professional Quality of Life Scale–5

Maria L. Vang, Jesper Pihl‐Thingvad, Mark Shevlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Secondary traumatization (ST) is a topical area among trauma‐exposed employees, where many are at risk of occupational mental health problems due to their work with trauma survivors. Challenges related to the accurate operationalization of ST symptoms persist, and there is no valid method for identifying employees at risk of clinically significant symptom levels. This study aimed to test the applicability of latent class analysis (LCA) to identify employees at risk for clinically relevant ST symptoms. LCA was used to identify patterns of ST symptom endorsement using the Professional Quality of Life Scale–5 (ProQoL) in a national sample of Danish child protection workers (CPW; N = 545). Predictors and associated levels of distress and functional impairment across the symptom presentations were tested using regression analysis, and three classes were identified. A total of 3.8% (n = 21) of participants were at high risk of endorsing symptoms of ST that were associated with significant levels of distress and increased functional impairment. The LCA approach outperformed existing scoring procedures in differentiating between employees with varying levels of distress, impairment, and well‐being. A minority of Danish CPWs are at risk for levels of ST that may be considered clinically significant for their associations with anxiety and social and cognitive impairment. Although the ProQoL is not a diagnostic tool, per se, a revised scoring procedure may render the measure useful when screening for employees who are at risk for levels of distress and impairment that require intervention.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Early online date28 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jul 2022

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