Resilience and Burnout in Child Protection Social Work: Individual and Organisational Themes from a Systematic Literature Review

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Child protection social work is acknowledged as a very stressful occupation, with high turnover and poor retention of staff being a major concern. This paper highlights themes that emerged from findings of sixty-five articles that were included as part of a systematic literature review. The review focused on the evaluation of research findings, which considered individual and organisational factors associated with resilience or burnout in child protection social work staff. The results identified a range of individual and organisational themes for staff in child protection social work. Nine themes were identified in total. These are categorised under ‘Individual’ and ‘Organisational’ themes. Themes categorised as individual included personal history of maltreatment, training and preparation for child welfare, coping, secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction. Those classified as organisational included workload, social support and supervision, organisational culture and climate, organisational and professional commitment, and job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The range of factors is discussed with recommendations and areas for future research are highlighted.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1546-1563
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number5
Early online date26 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2015


  • Child Protection, resilience, Burnout, Professional

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