Vicarious Exposure to Trauma in Australian Migration Agents: The Role of Empathy and Psychological Capital in Compassion Satisfaction

Marina Radeka, Richard E. Hicks


Australian migration agents may be under pressure in their work helping migrants affected by the global refugee crisis obtain their visas. The present research explored the factors that facilitate positive outcomes from work with traumatised people. Compassion satisfaction is essential for helping professionals, as it enables them to obtain pleasure from being able to help others and to sustain in their work. The current cross-sectional study aimed to examine how empathy and psychological capital affect compassion satisfaction in migration agents. Online survey data was collected from 158 Australian Registered Migration Agents aged 18 to 78 years who had worked with trauma-exposed people. The current research suggested psychological capital as a predictor of compassion satisfaction and it was the first to test a population of migration agents. The present study found evidence that empathy and psychological capital may be important means for promoting compassion satisfaction. Further studies are recommended with larger and more representative samples to confirm the findings and further explore the complex relationship between empathy, psychological capital, and compassion satisfaction.


empathy; psychological capital; compassion satisfaction; migration agents; helping professionals

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