Publications by authors named "Shauna L Rienks"

2 Publications

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An exploration of child welfare caseworkers' experience of secondary trauma and strategies for coping.

Shauna L Rienks

Child Abuse Negl 2020 12 14;110(Pt 3):104355. Epub 2020 Jan 14.

Butler Institute for Families, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA. Electronic address:

Background: The use of coping strategies can protect against the detrimental effects of many work-related stressors. Given the stressful nature of casework with traumatized children and families, there is a need to better understand how to prevent the experience of secondary trauma.

Objective: The goal of this study is to examine child welfare caseworkers' experience of secondary traumatic stress (STS) and the extent to which coping strategies act as a buffer.

Participants And Setting: This study utilizes both cross-sectional (N = 1968 at baseline) and longitudinal (N = 653 at 3-year follow-up) data from child welfare caseworkers in three states.

Methods: Participants were recruited as part of a larger workforce study and invited to complete an online survey.

Results: Results indicated relatively high levels of secondary trauma, with 29.6 % of caseworkers scoring in the "severe" range. Caseworkers' experience of STS was positively associated with burnout and negatively associated with organizational support and coping. Those who utilized coping strategies reported fewer symptoms of secondary traumatic stress both concurrently and three years later. Of the 15 coping strategies explored, the more proficient copers were most likely to have a clear self-care plan, participate in activities or hobbies, and have a work-to-home transition plan.

Conclusions: Study results point to the importance of developing a self-care plan and having organizational supports that help protect child welfare caseworkers from the negative effects of secondary trauma exposure, both concurrently and over time.
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December 2020

Longitudinal associations between sibling relationship quality, parental differential treatment, and children's adjustment.

J Fam Psychol 2005 Dec;19(4):550-9

Department of Psychology, University of Denver, CO 80208, USA.

This study examined associations between changes in sibling relationships and changes in parental differential treatment and corresponding changes in children's adjustment. One hundred thirty-three families were assessed at 3 time points. Parents rated children's externalizing problems, and children reported on sibling relationship quality, parental differential treatment, and depressive symptoms. On average, older siblings were 10, 12, and 16 years old, and younger siblings were 8, 10, and 14 years old at Waves 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Results from hierarchical linear modeling indicated that as sibling relationships improved over time, children's depressive symptoms decreased over time. In addition, as children were less favored over their siblings over time, children's externalizing problems increased over time. Findings highlight the developmental interplay between the sibling context and children's adjustment.
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December 2005