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Losing compassion for patients? The implications of COVID-19 on compassion fatigue and event-related post-traumatic stress disorder in nurses

Wayne Hochwarter (Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA) (Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia)
Samantha Jordan (University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Christian Kiewitz (University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, USA)
Patrick Liborius (University of Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein)
Antonia Lampaki (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
Jennifer Franczak (Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, USA)
Yufan Deng (Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Mayowa T. Babalola (Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan)
Abdul Karim Khan (United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 24 January 2022

Issue publication date: 15 March 2022

823

Abstract

Purpose

The authors investigated a psychological process that links characteristics of events related to the coronavirus disease (2019) COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. perceived novelty, disruptiveness and criticality) to compassion fatigue [(CF), a form of caregiver burnout] and subsequent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in nurses.

Design/methodology/approach

Administering two online surveys (October and November 2020) resulted in matched data from 175 nurses responsible for patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings

Perceived disruptiveness and criticality of COVID-19 events were positively associated with nurses' CF, which also mediated those characteristics' effects on PTSD instigated by COVID-19. Contrary to the authors' hypothesis, the perceived novelty of COVID-19 events was not significantly associated with CF nor was the indirect effect of perceived novelty on PTSD mediated by CF.

Originality/value

The authors extend event system theory by investigating the psychological processes linking event features and resultant outcomes while providing practical implications on preparations for future unexpected and potentially life-altering events.

Keywords

Citation

Hochwarter, W., Jordan, S., Kiewitz, C., Liborius, P., Lampaki, A., Franczak, J., Deng, Y., Babalola, M.T. and Khan, A.K. (2022), "Losing compassion for patients? The implications of COVID-19 on compassion fatigue and event-related post-traumatic stress disorder in nurses", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 206-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-01-2021-0037

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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