Event Abstract

The twin faces of pleasure: The relationship between pleasure and compassion fatigue

  • 1 Southern Cross University, Psychology, School of Health and Human Sciences, Australia

Aims: Compassion Fatigue (CF) can be pervasive and debilitating for individuals in some professions. For organisations, it can result in substantial costs in terms of staff productivity and retention. Activities found to be pleasurable - termed hedonic - may play a protective role during times of stress. However, hedonic activities can also be used in ways that are risky and maladaptive. Two theories were tested in the current study: firstly, that hedonic pleasure is used adaptively to counteract factors that may lead to CF; and secondly, that hedonic pursuits are used maladaptively and thus represent risk factors for CF. Method: 176 adults (74% female) completed a suite of questionnaires presented online. Two self-report scales assessed the individual's behaviour related to pleasurable activities. The TEPS captured behaviour of an adaptive nature, while the ‘shorter PROMIS’ measured maladaptive uses of pleasure. Compassion Fatigue was assessed with a sub-scale of the Professional Quality of Life scale (ProQOL). Results: The measures of pleasure activities were not significantly correlated. A small, significant negative correlation was found between CF and the adaptive model (r(176) = -.19, p < .009). There was also a positive correlation between CF and maladaptive use of pleasure (r(176) = .21, p = .006) but both associations were weak in this sample. Conclusions: The measures of hedonic activities appear to estimate separate constructs. Both faces of hedonic pleasure were slightly correlated with reported Compassion Fatigue: adaptive pleasure was associated with lower scores while maladaptive pleasure tended to be linked to higher scores. However, experimental work is needed to establish the direction of these effects as general fatigue or workload may be affecting the frequency and quality of pleasure seeking.

Keywords: Pleasure, Adaptive, compassion fatigue, Helping professions, Maladaptive

Conference: 12th Annual Psychology Research Conference, 2015, Coffs Harbour, Australia, 25 Sep - 26 Sep, 2015.

Presentation Type: Research

Topic: Psychology

Citation: Di-Masi J, Kozlowski D and Donnelly J (2015). The twin faces of pleasure: The relationship between pleasure and compassion fatigue. Front. Psychol. Conference Abstract: 12th Annual Psychology Research Conference, 2015. doi: 10.3389/conf.fpsyg.2015.66.00022

Received: 23 Sep 2015; Published Online: 23 Sep 2015.

* Correspondence: Ms. Janine Di-Masi, Southern Cross University, Psychology, School of Health and Human Sciences, Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2450, Australia, j.di-masi.10@student.scu.edu.au

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