Stacey Gagliano


Hulac, David

Committee Member

Hess, Robyn S.

Committee Member

Softas-Nall, Basilia

Committee Member

Dunn, Thom


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Department of School Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



163 pages

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Born digital


Gagliano, Stacey. Protective factors for secondary traumatic stress in residential treatment staff. Unpublished Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 2020. This cross-sectional study examined the relationship between empathy, a problem-focused coping style, compassion satisfaction (CS), staff cohesion, and symptoms of secondary traumatic stress (STS) in residential treatment center (RTC) staff, while controlling for previous direct trauma exposure. A total of 44 participants were recruited from RTCs in a western state and included mental health care providers (clinical staff), direct-care staff, and educational staff. Participants completed a 62-question electronic survey that included several self-report measures evaluating each of the aforementioned variables, in addition to demographics. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was performed to determine the degree to which these variables explain STS symptoms in RTC staff. A one-factor ANOVA was utilized to compare rates of STS between across occupational groups. Findings of correlational analyses indicated that higher levels of problem-focused coping skills were significantly associated with a greater sense of empathy. Moreover, the experience of direct trauma, empathy, problem-focused coping, CS, and staff cohesion significantly explained STS symptoms in RTC staff. These results suggest that particular individual and/or organizational factors may serve a protective function against STS and further research is warranted as this knowledge may benefit training programs and staff development opportunities across systems that serve traumatized youth.

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Copyright is held by the author.