Professional Quality of Life and Associated Factors among VHA Chaplains
Chaplains play a unique role in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care systems and have numerous responsibilities. Compassion satisfaction (CS), compassion fatigue (CF), and burnout (BO) are three major phenomenons that have been documented in other helping professions, but little is known about VA Chaplains’ professional quality of life. This study examines a national sample of VA Chaplains and their professional quality of life along with associated factors. Two-hundred and seventeen VA Chaplains completed an anonymous Internet survey, and regression analyses were conducted to determine which variables affect professional quality of life. On average, participants report high levels of CS and low levels of CF and BO. Gender, perceived support from VA administration, and mental health (MH) integration were significant predictors for CS. MH integration and perceived support significantly affected CF. Age, MH integration, and perceived support affected BO. Significant interaction effects were found for CF and BO. In summary, younger Chaplains and Chaplainswho report low levels of collaboration with MH professionals are most likely to develop CF and BO. This supports continued support from the VA for interdisciplinary initiatives and mentorship of younger Chaplains.