Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Pamela Scott

Committee Members

William Flora, Virginia Foley, Richard Griffin


The purpose of this research study was to explore the symptoms of compassion fatigue as experienced by teachers in grades 9-12 during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the research on the effects of compassion fatigue on educators is relatively sparse, the literature regarding compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, and vicarious trauma in other helping professions revealed a 12-symptom framework.

Data collection strategies included individual virtual interviews and field notes. Analysis of data occurred in four phases: (a) analyzing transcripts and identifying themes, (b) categorization of data under the 12 symptoms of compassion fatigue, (c) building the explanation in narrative form, and (d) re-examination of the data. The triangulation of data protected the credibility of the analysis through multiple interview sources and member checking.

The results revealed that the physical, emotional, professional, and personal experiences described in the teacher interviews exemplified the 12 established symptoms of compassion fatigue. The results suggested that concern for student experiences during the pandemic combined with other contributing factors to manifest a variety of individual symptoms in participants. The most common contributing factors for participants included concerns for the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of students, student academic issues, feelings of being overwhelmed/overloaded at work, and anger and frustration with the school administration and the school system. The themes that emerged from the data analysis indicate that the most common manifested symptoms include lack of sleep, stress and anxiety, thoughts of leaving the teaching profession, and disconnection from family and friends.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.