Project Title

Taking Care of the Caregivers

Authors' Affiliations

Megan Wolff, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences, East Tennessee State University Kelly Daniel, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences, East Tennessee State University Julia Najm, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences, East Tennessee State University Diana Morelen, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences, East Tennessee State University

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Psychology

Type

Oral Competitive

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Master’s

Project's Category

Psychology

Abstract Text

The present study examined the impact of COVID-related stress on the mental health and professional burnout in the infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) workforce and to examine reflective supervision and consultation (RSC) as a possible protective factor that buffers against the detrimental impact of COVID-related stress. Participants included 123 adults (n = 121 female, modal age range 30-39 years) in the TN IECMH workforce (mean years of experience = 13.6 years) surveyed in June/July 2020. Sector representation was quite varied (home-visiting, childcare, child welfare, early intervention). Results indicated that 46% of the sample had depression symptoms (18% in the moderate-severe range) and 75% of the sample had anxiety symptoms (33% in the moderate-severe range). Higher COVID stress was associated with higher internalizing symptoms and burnout levels and this relationship was mediated by self-care behaviors, such that the more COVID stress one reported, the fewer self-care behaviors they engaged in, and the higher the risk for internalizing symptoms and burnout. Finally, the pathway from COVID stress to self-care behaviors was moderated by RSC such that IECMH professionals who received 1 year or more of RSC were buffered against the detrimental impact of COVID stress on lowering self-care behaviors whereas this protective effect of RSC was not present for individuals with less than 1 year (or no experience of) RSC.

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Taking Care of the Caregivers

The present study examined the impact of COVID-related stress on the mental health and professional burnout in the infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) workforce and to examine reflective supervision and consultation (RSC) as a possible protective factor that buffers against the detrimental impact of COVID-related stress. Participants included 123 adults (n = 121 female, modal age range 30-39 years) in the TN IECMH workforce (mean years of experience = 13.6 years) surveyed in June/July 2020. Sector representation was quite varied (home-visiting, childcare, child welfare, early intervention). Results indicated that 46% of the sample had depression symptoms (18% in the moderate-severe range) and 75% of the sample had anxiety symptoms (33% in the moderate-severe range). Higher COVID stress was associated with higher internalizing symptoms and burnout levels and this relationship was mediated by self-care behaviors, such that the more COVID stress one reported, the fewer self-care behaviors they engaged in, and the higher the risk for internalizing symptoms and burnout. Finally, the pathway from COVID stress to self-care behaviors was moderated by RSC such that IECMH professionals who received 1 year or more of RSC were buffered against the detrimental impact of COVID stress on lowering self-care behaviors whereas this protective effect of RSC was not present for individuals with less than 1 year (or no experience of) RSC.

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