Empathy and coping as predictors of professional quality of life in Australian Registered Migration Agents (RMAs)

Danielle Raynor, Richard Hicks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Threats to professional quality of life such as compassion fatigue constitute a risk for those working with trauma-exposed individuals. Research has investigated professional quality of life in first responders, mental health practitioners, and medical personnel, but the impact on Registered Migration Agents (RMAs) who work with trauma-exposed refugee clients has not been evaluated. This study examined the prevalence of secondary traumatic stress, burnout and compassion satisfaction in 188 RMAs, and the roles of empathy and coping strategies. More than one-third of the sample members were potentially at risk of compassion fatigue (under two-thirds indicated compassion satisfaction). Regression results suggested that compassion fatigue was significantly related both to lower empathy and to maladaptive coping; while adaptive coping and high empathy significantly predicted compassion satisfaction. Results indicate a potential occupational hazard for RMAs working with trauma clients; suggesting tailored interventions to reduce the risk of deleterious compassion fatigue on RMAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-540
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number4
Early online date7 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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