Original Research

A pilot study to test psychophonetics methodology for self-care and empathy in compassion fatigue, burnout and secondary traumatic stress

Katherine J. Train, Nadine Butler
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a497 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v5i1.497 | © 2013 Katherine J. Train, Nadine Butler | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 October 2012 | Published: 13 September 2013

About the author(s)

Katherine J. Train, School of Pharmacy, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Nadine Butler, School of Pharmacy, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Background: Home-based care is recognised as being a stressful occupation. Practitioners working with patients experiencing high levels of trauma may be susceptible to compassion fatigue, with the sustained need to remain empathic being a contributing factor.

Objectives: The aim of this research was to evaluate psychophonetics methodology for self-care and empathy skills as an intervention for compassion fatigue. Objectives were to measure levels of compassion fatigue pre-intervention, then to apply the intervention and retest levels one month and six months post-intervention.

Method: The research applied a pilot test of a developed intervention as a quasi-experiment.The study sample comprised home-based carers working with HIV-positive patients at a hospice in Grabouw, a settlement in the Western Cape facing socioeconomic challenge.

Results: The result of the pilot study showed a statistically-significant improvement in secondary traumatic stress, a component of compassion fatigue, measured with the ProQOL v5 instrument post-intervention.

Conclusion: The results gave adequate indication for the implementation of a larger study in order to apply and test the intervention. The study highlights a dire need for further research in this field.


psychophonetics; compassion fatigue; burnout; empathy; secondary traumatic stress ProQOL


Total abstract views: 8330
Total article views: 11025


Crossref Citations

1. A comparative study of the Professional Quality of Life Factors in Nepali MHPSS Practitioners
Yubaraj Adhikari
Advanced Research in Psychology  year: 2020  
doi: 10.46412/001c.13192