Dr. Espinosa and MPA Alum Coauthor Study of Refugee Workers' Mental Health

People who help refugees resettle often suffer from Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS), the vicarious emotional pain caused by hearing about others’ trauma, according to a study co-authored by Ryan Hallock (MPA ‘17, pictured above) and Dr. Adriana Espinosa.

The study, based on 210 survey responses, found that after assisting continual cases of severely traumatized refugees, resettlement workers are prone to lose sleep and feel angry and hopeless. To cope with the pain, they often turn to alcohol, distraction, and self-blame, and they may feel the need to de-personalize their clients. Young female workers have a higher rate of burnout from this stressful work. People with higher emotional intelligence - awareness of emotions and how to channel them - are less likely to get burnt out, suffer STS, and engage in harmful coping, the study found.

Read the study


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