Resident Assistant secondary trauma and burnout associated with student nonsuicidal self-injury
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Objective: To determine whether or not encountering students struggling with nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) put Resident Assistants (RAs) at greater risk of burnout or secondary traumatic stress.
Participants: 155 RAs at three Midwest public university campuses between March and April 2016.
Methods: RAs participated in an anonymous online survey that collected demographics, information on RAs’ experiences and thoughts related to their work, RAs’ exposure to NSSI struggle of a resident, and measurements of compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress.
Results: RAs who encountered resident NSSI demonstrated significantly higher levels of burnout and secondary traumatic stress than RAs who did not encounter resident NSSI.
Conclusion: College student struggle with NSSI can significantly affect the people around them. Residence life administration and college counseling centers should provide training, support, and supervision to RAs in a way that addresses and reduces the RAs’ potential distress.