Document Type


Publication Date



The overarching goal of this study was to understand the context of home visitor secondary traumatic stress and burnout, and how this might affect intention to quit among home visitors, particularly focusing on potential risk factors and supportive strategies identified by the home visitors. All home visitors providing services in the state in which the research was conducted (N = 27) completed a structured interview and a quantitative survey at two time points, 6 months apart. Results indicated that more than two-thirds of the home visitors experienced either medium or high levels of secondary traumatic stress and burnout over the course of the study. Approximately one quarter of home visitors indicated thinking of leaving their present positio. Qualitative data indicated that risk factors associated with burnout included those related to both direct and non-direct services. Risk factors associated with secondary traumatic stress included traumatic stress of families, inability to recognize one’s own experiences of secondary traumatic stress, and unhealthy work culture. In terms of protective factors, home visitors strongly emphasized the importance of having a supportive supervisor who they could trust and communicate with openly.

Copyright Statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Routledge an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment on January 2019, available online at doi: 10.1080/10911359.2018.1496051.