Traumatic effects of therapists working with perpetrators of sexual abuse

Donna L Moore, Tennessee State University


This study investigated the deleterious effects psychotherapists may experience as a result of fulfilling their professional duties. Therapist participants $(N=75)$ were divided into various comparison groups for assessment of post-traumatic stress, vicarious traumatization and general distress symptoms. It was hypothesized that female therapists, less experienced therapists, therapists who felt professionally isolated, and therapists working with trauma clients would experience more stress from performing their clinical work. Multiple group comparisons did not lend support to four of the five hypotheses. No significant group differences were found. The hypothesis that less experienced therapists would have more stress than more experienced therapists was partially supported. While short-term trauma symptoms were significantly greater in the less experienced therapist group, therapists in the middle range of experience reported more long-term stress in the form of disrupted beliefs than therapists with more and less experience. Implications for these findings and study limitations are discussed.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Donna L Moore, "Traumatic effects of therapists working with perpetrators of sexual abuse" (1997). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9806346.