ISSN: 1230-2813
Advances in Psychiatry and Neurology/Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii
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vol. 27
Original article

Secondary traumatic stress and vicarious posttraumatic growth in nurses working in palliative care – the role of psychological resilience

Nina Ogińska-Bulik

Adv Psychiatry Neurol 2018; 27 (3): 196-210
Online publish date: 2018/09/30
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Among the consequences of professional stress related to helping victims of trauma, above all, the symptoms of secondary traumatic stress (STS) are mentioned. The occurrence of positive changes, in the form of vicarious posttraumatic growth (VPTG) is also possible. Among the factors conducive to posttraumatic adaptation, personality traits are mentioned, including psychological resilience. The aim of the research was to determine the role of resilience in the occurrence of STS and VPTG among professionals who care for terminally ill persons.

The analysis included results obtained from 72 nurses aged 22–72 (M = 46.01, SD = 10.69) employed in palliative care. The research used a survey and three standard measurement tools, i.e. the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale, the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory and the Resiliency Assessment Scale.

The obtained results confirmed a negative relationship between resilience and STS and the positive relationship with VPTG. The conducted regression analysis indicated that the main predictor of STS is the factor 2 of resilience, i.e. openness to new experiences and sense of humor. Three resilience factors played the predictive role for the particular dimensions of the VPTG. In addition, there was a negative relationship between STS and VPTG.

Psychological resilience is an important resource that can protect people exposed to secondary trauma before the development of STS and promote the occurrence of positive changes, manifested in the form of VPTG.


nurses, palliative care, secondary traumatic stress, vicarious posttraumatic growth, psychological resilience

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