Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Marie-Christine Goodworth, Ph.D
Mark McMinn, Ph.D
Brooke Kuhnhausen, Ph.D
Graduate school is a unique season of life involving high demands and high pressure, leaving adult degree-seeking students vulnerable to stress and negative health outcomes. Students seeking degrees in helping professional programs face additional risks due to the unique amounts of compassion required to engage in others-oriented work, leaving them susceptible to compassion fatigue and burnout. With a recent resurgence in the literature on the self-transcendent emotion of awe, which is associated with greater well-being, this present study sought to examine if experiences of awe can help sustain well-being and reduce the risk of compassion fatigue in helping profession graduate trainees. Based on resent research on the potency of nature to induce feelings of awe, this design randomly assigned graduate students in PsyD and DPT graduate programs at George Fox University to a clinical group who viewed an immersive nature video and a control group who viewed a video containing neutral stimuli. Pre-measures of dispositional awe and both state and trait compassion were obtained, and a post-intervention measure of awe experience and professional quality of life were obtained. Results show that baseline levels of dispositional awe and both state and trait compassion were significantly correlated. A MANOVA revealed a significant difference between the control group and the intervention group, however, only awe experience was found to be significant and there were no observed differences in compassion satisfaction or compassion fatigue. Follow-up analyses examined specific facets of the awe experience elicited by the awe intervention video designed specifically for the present study. Implications include that awe and compassion appear to be correlated and it is possible to induce meaningful feelings of awe in a relatively short period of time.
Forcelle, Anna, "Awe in the Helping Professions: Approaching Well-Being for Graduate Trainees Through Transcendent Emotion" (2021). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 424.