ABSTRACT. This study explored the effects of self-care practices and perceptions on positive and negative indicators of professional quality of life, including burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction among MSW practitioners. Results reveal that while social workers value and believe self-care is effective in alleviating job-related stress, they engage in self-care on a limited basis. Findings indicate that MSW programs and employers do not teach social workers how to effectively engage in self-care practice. Various domains of self-care practice contribute differently to indicators of professional quality of life.
This study sheds light on the under-studied relationship between social worker self-care and professional quality of life, provides insight into the type of activities practiced and not practiced by MSW practitioners, and identifies gaps between perceived value and effective teaching of self-care. Implications exist for social work educators and employers and the potential to support a healthier, sustainable workforce.