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Examining psychological wellbeing and compassion fatigue within Australia’s financial services industry


Kirkwood, M and Norris, K, Examining psychological wellbeing and compassion fatigue within Australia's financial services industry, Conference proceedings, 30 September - 3rd October 2014, Tasmania, Australia, pp. 9. (2014) [Conference Extract]


Abstract: Over the past decade, the relationship between personal finance concern and psychological wellbeing has come under increased scrutiny (Fitch, 2006; Fuller & Broadbent, 2006). Supporting this notion, the Australian Psychological Society’s (APS) Stress and Wellbeing Survey 2013, cited personal finance concern as the leading cause of stress for adult Australians, with 52% of respondents reporting financial concern as a source of psychological stress (Casey, 2013). Given that finance concern has been identified as Australia’s foremost stressor by this survey since 2011, it is unsurprising that Australia’s financial services industry places enormous emphasis on equipping industry practitioners to optimally deliver the financial goals of their clients. Beyond traditional financial tools of trade, interpersonal and emotional skills that facilitate relationship development between financial practitioner and client, enjoy equal attention. What is less well understood is the impact that repeated exposure to client distress has on the performance and wellbeing of financial services personnel. Research into other helping populations such as health professionals has identified a high risk of compassion fatigue as a result of exposure to client distress (Aycock & Boyle, 2008; Strom- Gotfried & Mowbray, 2006; Heathcote, 2009). Accordingly, the aim of the present study is to examine levels of wellbeing and compassion fatigue within Australian financial practitioners. An additional objective is to identify predictors of compassion fatigue in this population. It is predicted that those high in emotional intelligence (EI) will report significantly higher wellbeing than those low in EI. It is further hypothesized that compassion fatigue will be predicted by EI, personality and wellbeing. In developing an understanding of the levels and predictors of wellbeing, further research into strategies and industry specific interventions that mitigate compassion fatigue and enhance psychological wellbeing, are possible.

Design: This study will incorporate a cross sectional, multiple regression design. Examining between group differences for other demographics, the predictor variables will be demographic factors of age, sex and length of employment; personality; emotional intelligence and wellbeing. The outcome variable will be compassion fatigue.

Method: Approximately 300 finance industry practitioners from across Australia, dealing directly with clients and their financial affairs, will be recruited to participate in the study. Participants will be requested to complete the following questionnaires via the online LimeSurvey interface: Professional Quality of Life, The International Personality Item Pool, The Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test, The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and a demographics questionnaire. Administration time is anticipated to be 60 to 90 minutes, with submission of questionnaires implying consent.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Applied and developmental psychology
Research Field:Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Occupational health
UTAS Author:Kirkwood, M (Mr Murray Kirkwood)
UTAS Author:Norris, K (Professor Kimberley Norris)
ID Code:96058
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2014-10-17
Last Modified:2015-05-07

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