What is it about?

Direct support professionals (DSPs) are essential in the continuum of care for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. DSPs provide a wide range of support including services to ensure the safety and welfare of individuals, support in the development of independent living skills and support in community integration. Existing literature has shown that as frontline workers, DSPs face various occupational hazards such as secondary traumatic stress (STS). The present study examined the relationships between STS and various risk and protective factors among members of the DSP workforce. This study involved DSPs from 21 state licensed community-based agencies serving individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Risk factors factors of STS among DSPs include exposure to client trauma, exposure to frequency of client challenging behaviors, and workers’ own trauma. Protective factors include personal resilience and organizational support. Perceived supervisor support did not significantly impact STS.


Writing this publication is to bring into light one of the many occupational stressors that may have significant emotional and psychological impact on the lives of low pay and highly demanding workforce.

Daniel Boamah Boamah
Western Kentucky University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Predictors of secondary traumatic stress among intellectual and developmental disabilities workforce: An examination of risk and protective factors., Traumatology An International Journal, September 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/trm0000414.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page