Providing professional assistance to trauma victims may cause significant emotional distress to those who provide the assistance. Dealing with such stress requires attention to significant personal resources. This study examined the relationship between tendency to forgive and spirituality with PTSD symptoms and stress among social workers and social work students (N = 157) who are at the front line dealing with trauma survivors. The study results demonstrated that social work students had higher levels of stress while no significant differences were found regarding spiritually, PTSD, and forgiveness. Examining the subscales revealed that social work students had higher negative PTSD alteration symptoms than trained social workers while trained social workers had higher levels of forgiveness to self. Additionally, structural equation models showed that among social workers, forgiveness to self and spirituality were associated simultaneously with lower PTSD symptoms and stress. However, among social work students, the tendency to forgive the self was associated with lower PTSD symptoms only. The findings illuminate spirituality and forgiveness as key factors that can help cope with the emotional toll of those who assist trauma survivors, while focusing on differences for trained professionals and training professionals. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.
- social work
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Community and Home Care
- Psychiatry and Mental health