Publications and Articles

CW 360, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, School of Social Work,
University of Minnesota, Secondary Trauma and the Child Welfare Workforce, Spring 2012. 
The Secondary Trauma Prevention Project: A Multilevel Systems Approach to Protect Child
Welfare Staff from Secondary Trauma
In this special issue of CW 360, David and other secondary trauma experts from around the country
were asked to write short articles describing their views on secondary trauma and the work they are
doing. The programs David created in Texas and Colorado, that are now being replciated in North Dakota
and Wyoming were recognized as "best practices". In the article, on page 23 of the special issue, David outlines
the purpose and components of his program.

The Link, Offical Newsletter of the International Society for the Prevention of Child
Abuse and Neglect, Northern Summer/Southern Winter 2011:
Secondary Trauma and Caring
Professionals: Understanding its impact and taking steps to protect yourself

In this international journal, which is read by professionals around the world, David introduces
caring professionals to the concept of secondary trauma.   He also identifies risk factors and strategies
professionals can use to protect themselves from the secondary trauma they encounter in their workplace.
The article was well received and much appreciated, particularly by those who had no prior knowledge of the
concept of secondary trauma.

Secondary Trauma - BooksChild Welfare Matters, Spring 2006, Supporting Child Welfare Workers:
An Interview with David Conrad, LCSW"

Child welfare workers are at significant risk for secondary trauma for a number of reasons. These include: empathy (particularly when it involves “over-identification” with their clients); exposure to reminders of their own trauma; insufficient recovery time between exposures to trauma, and working with children who are the most vulnerable members of society. In addition, relentless criticism by the public and press can be very painful for workers. Click here to read the article.

David Conrad, Yvonne Kellar-Guenther, Compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction among Colorado child protection workers, Child Abuse & Neglect (2006), doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2006.03.009
Objective: The goal of this study was to understand better the risk of compassion fatigue (the trauma suffered by the helping professional) and burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced sense of personal accomplishment), and the potential for compassion satisfaction (the fulfillment from helping others and positive collegial relationships) among Colorado county child protection staff using the Compassion Satisfaction/Fatigue Self-Test [Figley, C. R., & Stamm, B. H. (1996). Psychometric review of Compassion Fatigue Self-Test. In B. H. Stamm (Ed.), Measurement of stress, trauma, and adaptation (pp. 127–130). Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press]. An additional goal was to test the relationship of these three constructs to each other.
Method: A self-report instrument developed by Stamm and Figley was used to measure the risk of compassion fatigue and burnout and the potential for compassion satisfaction among 363 child protection staff participating in a secondary trauma training seminar.
Results: Participants were significantly more likely to have high risk of compassion fatigue, extremely low risk of burnout, and good potential for compassion satisfaction. Participants with high compassion satisfaction had lower levels of compassion fatigue (p = .000; mean = 35.73 high compassion satisfaction group, mean = 43.56 low group) and lower levels of burnout (p = .000; mean = 32.99 high compassion satisfaction group, mean = 41.69 low group).
Conclusion: Approximately 50% of Colorado county child protection staff suffered from “high” or “very high” levels of compassion fatigue. The risk of burnout was considerably lower. More than 70% of staff expressed a “high” or “good” potential for compassion satisfaction. We believe compassion satisfaction may help mitigate the effects of burnout.

Fostering Communications, Fall 2004, "The Cost of Caring: Secondary Traumatic Stress" David Conrad, LCSW, Coordinator, The Secondary Trauma Prevention Project: sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services
Foster Parents work daily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with children who have been traumatized. They listen to their stories and feel their hurt. Empathy is often the most important tool foster parents bring to helping the children in their care. Unfortunately, the more empathic they are the greater their risk for internalizing the trauma of their foster children. The result of this engagement is secondary traumatic
stress. Click here to read the article.

What is Secondary Trauma?

Girl 1


Contact David Conrad, LCSW
Senior Instructor with Distinction
University of Colorado School of Medicine



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