This action research study examined the impact of participation in an appreciative inquiry (AI) intervention on social service workers' level of compassion fatigue. Five workers plus two of their managers took part in the study. A 6-hour AI intervention was held and participants completed pre- and post-tests of the Professional Quality of Life Scale to measure their compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and burnout. A focus group also was held to gather qualitative data about the impact of the intervention. Results indicated that the intervention was highly valuable for strengthening working relationships, underscoring the positives in otherwise emotionally difficult work, and learning how to avoid or reduce compassion fatigue. Based on these findings, periodic AI interventions are advised to reduce social service workers' compassion fatigue by sharing their experiences and focusing on the positive. Future research should eliminate the limitations of the present study by expanding the sample and gathering multiple forms of data.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Social workers -- Psychology; Burn out (Psychology) -- Prevention; Social workers -- Job stress

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Chesley, Julie;