Exposure to traumatic events at work, posttraumatic symptoms and professional quality of life among midwives

Ran Cohen, Dmitry Leykin, Dita Golan-Hadari, Mooli Lahad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective in their line of duty, midwives are often exposed to traumatic births that may lead to symptoms of compassion fatigue (CF), which includes burnout (BO) and secondary traumatic stress (STS).Conversely, midwives derive pleasure and great satisfaction in seeing the positive effect they have on their clients. This experience is known as compassion satisfaction (CS). Together, CS and CF comprise the professional quality of life (ProQOL). The aim of this paper was to study midwives' professional quality of life and traumatic experiences. The highly stressful environment of midwives may also include primary exposure to traumatic experiences and therefore PTSD levels were also assessed. Method the participants (N=93) were professional midwives from four medical centers in Israel. The participants answered selfreport questionnaires that assessed their ProQOL and PTSD symptoms. Findings results indicated relatively high levels of CS which may mitigate, at least to some degree, the negative aspects of CF. PTSD levels significantly and positively correlated with STS and BO. Sixteen per cent presented with PTSD symptoms of clinical significance. Also, seniority was significantly and positively correlated with BO and PTSD symptoms. Conclusions high ProQOL was found amongst the participants, with more than 74% scoring on the high range of CS. Nevertheless, we recommend further research and implementing strategies to maintain or further enhance CS and decrease CF levels. Finally, a more comprehensive understanding of the development of PTSD amongst midwives is vital in order to minimize its occurrence in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Compassion fatigue
  • Compassion satisfaction
  • Midwives
  • PTSD
  • Professional quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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