Irish social work : mindfulness, maintenance of emotional separation and professional quality of life

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Ruddy, Michelle
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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A study of 103 social workers (male =12, female=90, missing response=1) currently working in Ireland and aged over 18 years of age was conducted to explore the relationships of mindfulness and maintenance of emotional separation with the three subscales of the Professional Quality of Life Scale (Stamm, 2010); compassion satisfaction, secondary traumatic stress and burnout. The study was a mixed design study with correlational and cross sectional aspects. The study found social workers with higher levels of mindfulness exhibited higher compassion satisfaction and lower burnout. It also found those higher in maintenance of emotional separation were also higher in compassion satisfaction, lower in secondary traumatic stress and lower in burnout. Within demographic groups statutory social workers showed higher levels of compassion satisfaction but there were no significant differences based on area or work or gender. Social workers with high and low levels of mindfulness and emotional separation showed significant differences in levels of professional quality of life overall. Those showing higher levels of mindfulness also showed higher emotional separation. Auhor keywords: Social work, mindfulness, self-care, emotional separation, professional quality of life