Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2020

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




James Artesani

Second Committee Member

Sidney Mitchell

Third Committee Member

Craig Mason

Additional Committee Members

Catharine Biddle

Elyse Pratt-Ronco


For decades, researchers have understood the deleterious emotional and psychological effects that can result from working with individuals who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) including vicarious traumatization, compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress (STS), burnout, and an intent to leave the profession (Figley, 1995; McCann & Pearlman, 1990; Stamm, 1999). Figley (1995) deemed such effects as an almost inevitable “cost to caring” (p.1) for those who have experienced adversity. Teachers, however, have been largely left out of the discussion surrounding such effects. The purpose of this quantitative study is two-fold. First, the purpose is to understand the extent to which Maine teachers experience costs to caring defined in this study as STS, burnout, and a desire to leave the profession. The second purpose is to test a conceptual Teacher Costs to Caring Resilience Model (TCCRM) using structural equation modeling (SEM). The purpose of the TCCRM is to aid in the understanding of risk and protective factors that contribute to teachers’ costs to caring. The TCCRM is theoretically based on the Compassion Fatigue Resilience Model (Ludick & Figley, 2017). The sample for this study consisted of 542 K-12 Maine teachers who were members of the Maine Education Association, the state-level chapter of the National Education Association. Data was collected online using The Maine Teacher Resilience Survey during February and March of 2020. Findings suggest that personal resilience and compassion satisfaction have a strong negative direct effect on costs to caring. Further, working in a positive school climate showed a strong negative indirect effect on costs to caring. Additionally, teachers who have personally experienced ACEs may be at a slightly higher risk of experiencing costs of caring than those who have not. Using a systems-based approach at school, district, and state levels based on a final TCCRM to mitigate risks associated with teacher cost to caring is suggested.