July 30, 2012: By the Numbers

July 30, 2012: By the Numbers



That's the number of chaplains in the Army. And about 700 chaplains and chaplain assistants are "mobilized or deployed for contingency operations’ support around the world," according to data cited in a February 2012 Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health article, Compassion Fatigue: What Is the Level Among Army Chaplains?

In a sample size of 69 chaplains, the authors found a "low level of compassion fatigue and burnout," and an average "level of compassion satisfaction."  However, the researchers noted "an association between compassion fatigue and the average number of hours per week working with wounded victims’ friends and family."

The authors suggest that collaboration with other mental health care providers -- in addition to peer support and additional education -- may lessen the chances of chaplains developing compassion fatigue.

For a June 2011 article in the Journal of Traumatic Stress -- Deployment stressors and outcomes among Air Force chaplains -- the authors surveyed 189 previously deployed USAF chaplains. This group as a whole "did not endorse high compassion fatigue" and "experienced positive psychological growth following exposure to stressful counseling experiences."  However, the authors found that 7.7% of these chaplains "reported clinically significant PTSD symptoms, suggesting that they are not immune to deployment-related mental health problems."