Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Rachel Severson

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Psychology

Abstract

Professionals who perform crisis work frequently function as first responders, but even when they enter the scene at a later time, they are still exposed to many of the risk factors identified for the development of PTSD and other trauma reactions (Lepore, 2005). Individuals come to these roles from a variety of backgrounds and with various levels of experience. Given that such work is often low-prestige and of average pay, there is significant value in identifying the motivation driving individuals to do the work, as well as how they view their jobs and support systems. Identifying these elements can assist with outreach and recruitment to attract dedicated and driven workers, as well as lowering rates of burnout and emotional damage. Using a short, custom-made, anonymous questionnaire loosely based on elements from the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) and the Job Satisfaction Scale (JSS), crisis workers from a nonprofit organization in the Northwestern United States (N=10 planned) were asked to assess their feelings of self-worth regarding their jobs, their current emotional state, their support systems, and their reasons for pursuing this line of work. This is an exploratory study intended to identify rough spots within the work environment of these professionals. Knowing how they were recruited, their training, and their current mental and emotional state will be valuable to both the nonprofit organization in question and to the larger research effort focused on supporting the mental health and well-being of those in crisis.

Category

Social Sciences

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The right job for me: The motivation, support network, and emotional fortitude of crisis workers

Professionals who perform crisis work frequently function as first responders, but even when they enter the scene at a later time, they are still exposed to many of the risk factors identified for the development of PTSD and other trauma reactions (Lepore, 2005). Individuals come to these roles from a variety of backgrounds and with various levels of experience. Given that such work is often low-prestige and of average pay, there is significant value in identifying the motivation driving individuals to do the work, as well as how they view their jobs and support systems. Identifying these elements can assist with outreach and recruitment to attract dedicated and driven workers, as well as lowering rates of burnout and emotional damage. Using a short, custom-made, anonymous questionnaire loosely based on elements from the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) and the Job Satisfaction Scale (JSS), crisis workers from a nonprofit organization in the Northwestern United States (N=10 planned) were asked to assess their feelings of self-worth regarding their jobs, their current emotional state, their support systems, and their reasons for pursuing this line of work. This is an exploratory study intended to identify rough spots within the work environment of these professionals. Knowing how they were recruited, their training, and their current mental and emotional state will be valuable to both the nonprofit organization in question and to the larger research effort focused on supporting the mental health and well-being of those in crisis.