2022: Two-year Impact Factor: 4.4
Scopus Journal Metrics
CiteScore (2022): 5.3
SJR(2022): 0.78
Open Access

Health Promot Perspect. 2022;12(4): 381-390.
doi: 10.34172/hpp.2022.50
PMID: 36852203
PMCID: PMC9958233
Scopus ID: 85149230937
  Abstract View: 603
  PDF Download: 316
  Full Text View: 52

Original Article

Exploring the health of child protection workers: A call to action

Javier F. Boyas 1* ORCID logo, Debra Moore 1, Maritza Y. Duran 2, Jacqueline Fuentes 2, Jana Woodiwiss 2, Leah McCoy 2, Antonella Cirino 2

1 Troy University, School of Social Work and Human Services, 112A Wright Hall, Troy, AL, 36082, USA
2 University of Georgia, School of Social Work, 279 Williams St., Athens, GA, 30602, USA
*Corresponding Author: Corresponding Author: Javier F. Boyas, Email: , Email: jboyas@troy.edu


Background: This exploratory study determined if a relationship exists between secondary traumatic stress (STS) related to health status, health outcomes, and health practices among child protection workers in a Southern state.

Methods: This study used a cross-sectional survey research design that included a non-probability sample of child protection workers (N=196). Data were collected face-to-face and online between April 2018 and November 2019 from multiple county agencies. A self-administered questionnaire was completed focused on various health behaviors, outcomes, and workplace perceptions.

Results: Results of the zero-order correlations suggest that higher levels of STS were significantly associated with not having visited a doctor for a routine checkup (r=-0.17, P=0.04), more trips to see a doctor (r=0.16, P=0.01), and increased number of visits to emergency room (ER) (r=0.20, P=0.01). Lower levels of STS were associated with better self-rated health (SRH) (r=-0.32, P≤0.001), higher perceptions of health promotion at work (r=-0.29, P≤0.001), frequent exercise (r=-0.21, P=0.01), and by avoiding salt (r=-0.20, P≤0.031). T-test results suggest that workers who did not have children (µ=45.85, SD=14.02, P=0.01) and non-Hispanic white workers (µ=51.79, SD=11.62, P≤0.001) reported significantly higher STS levels than workers who had children (µ=39.73, SD=14.58) and self-identified as Black (µ=39.01, SD=14.38).

Conclusion: Findings show that increased interpersonal trauma was linked to unhealthy eating, general physical health problems, and health care utilization. If not addressed, both STS and poor health and health outcomes can have unfavorable employee outcomes, such as poor service delivery.

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Submitted: 28 Nov 2022
Revision: 20 Dec 2022
Accepted: 20 Dec 2022
ePublished: 31 Dec 2022
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