Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Diana M. Morelen

Committee Members

Alyson Chroust, Rachel Miller-Slough, Aubrey Dueweke


Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) providers engage in uniquely relational work with high-risk families that expose them to the full advantages (i.e., compassion satisfaction [CS]) and disadvantages (e.g., burn-out [BO]) of a helper role. Though the pandemic seemed poised to escalate disadvantage, most early pandemic studies found high CS alongside elevated BO. Unfortunately, as COVID-19 has continued, CS has declined while BO has increased. Given the delayed COVID-19 impact on children, these changes may be particularly acute for IECMH providers. Using a longitudinal cohort of 27 IECMH providers, this study aimed to describe and quantify changes in professional wellbeing and contributing factors over a 12-month period (T1 – T12) from early to mid-pandemic. Little changed from T1 to T12 for IECMH provider CS (M = 41.33 vs. M = 41.08) or BO (M = 22.22 vs. M = 22.65) scores. Variables known to contribute to CS similarly held when T1 was compared to T12, but they fluctuated considerably and non-linearly between these time points. Variable relationships with CS also changed over time necessitating an adjusted hierarchal regression model. This model accounted for 20% of variance in T12 CS. Pandemic experiences like loss are reported; needs/supports are summarized using content analysis. Results underscore the importance of cohort, multi-time point design and the need for non-linear analysis to contextualize the interplay of shared and individual experiences within COVID-19. Implications for maintaining IECMH professional wellbeing moving forward and improving the health of other fields are discussed.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.