Compassion Satisfaction Among Social Work Practitioners: The Role of Work–Life Balance

Junghee Bae, Porter F. Jennings, Christi P. Hardeman, Eunhye Kim, Megan Lee, Tenesha Littleton, Sherinah Saasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Previous research has established that social work practitioners are especially vulnerable to work-related psychological distress and burnout due to the high-stress nature of the profession, yet less research has focused on examining factors are associated with social worker retention. Emerging research on compassion satisfaction suggests that this factor could mitigate professional burnout, yet there is a gap in research focusing explicitly on examining compassion satisfaction among social workers. To address this gap in knowledge, this quantitative study collected survey data on practicing social workers who were alumni from a large southeastern university (n = 120) to examine individual and organizational factors associated with compassion satisfaction. Multiple regression analyses revealed that higher levels of emotional intelligence, perceived work autonomy, and perceived work–life balance were associated with an increase in compassion satisfaction among experienced, licensed social work practitioners. Findings have implications for how social work employers can promote compassion satisfaction through cultivating emotional intelligence among practitioners, allowing social workers autonomy in decision making, and providing supportive work environments. Recommended directions for future research include longitudinal studies with large sample sizes that expound research on compassion satisfaction by examining the role of additional factors, such as client population, job role characteristics, and supervisor support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-330
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 3 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Social work practitioners
  • compassion satisfaction
  • emotional intelligence
  • work autonomy
  • work–life balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Compassion Satisfaction Among Social Work Practitioners: The Role of Work–Life Balance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this