Vicarious Traumatisation: Working with Clients of Probation Services [2018]

This study aims to explore whether attachment styles of adult probation officers (POs) are correlated with disruptions in cognitive schemas of trust and safety (vicarious traumatisation—VT) and whether they moderate the relationship between personal trauma history and cognitive schemas. We conducted an anonymous self-report census with adult POs in Israel (N=189). The study findings suggest that POs with secure attachment have lower average disruptions in trust and safety than POs with insecure attachment. The findings also indicate that attachment style moderates the relationship between personal trauma history and disruptions in the safety schema, but not in trust schema. These findings suggest that insecure attachment may increase the risk of developing VT as a result of repeated exposure to trauma in the context of working with clients of probation services. Implications include raising awareness of workers, supervisors and staff management to personal and professional risk factors that may affect job performance.

Inbal Merhav,  Maayan Lawental,  Maya Peled-Avram
The British Journal of Social Work, Volume 48, Issue 8, 1 December 2018