Date of Award

5-1-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

Ph.D.

First Advisor

Richard Lyle, Ph.D

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between secondary trauma experienced by social workers and commercially sexually exploited children in Georgia. The study was designed to examine the secondary trauma experienced by social workers who worked with commercially sexually exploited children in areas that included emotional, physical, and psychological stressors affecting the social worker. The target population for the research was composed of current and former social workers in Georgia who worked with commercially sexually exploited children. Seventy-four respondents working with this population completed a questionnaire survey, utilizing quantitative probability criterion sampling and snowball sampling. There are social workers who experience secondary trauma when working with commercially sexually exploited children in Georgia; however, the findings of this study indicate that there is no statistically significant relationship between social workers experiencing situations that remind them of commercially sexually exploited children and social workers' feelings of distress that interfere with work. In addition, the study results indicate that there is no statistically significant relationship between: social workers' gender and distress that interfere with work; social workers experiencing nightmares and situations that remind them of commercially sexually exploited children; nor social workers' experiences that remind them of commercially sexually exploited children and employment type. Nonetheless, the findings of this study indicate that there is a significant relationship between social workers' feelings of distress that interfere with their work and feelings of anger, as well as social workers' feelings of distress in their social life and their highest level of education.

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