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Previous scholarship has posited that veterinarians experience more anxiety, depression, and compassion fatigue symptoms than the general population. Disclosure of psychological stressors, combined with positive responsiveness, may reduce psychological symptoms. The goal of this study was to test the relationships between disclosure, responsiveness, compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
230 veterinarians from a private Facebook online support group.
Veterinarians from a private Facebook online support group were administered a cross-sectional survey using established scales measuring disclosure, responsiveness, compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression. All scales reported strong reliability and validity.
Pearson correlations and mediation models were used to analyze the data. A small, negative, direct relationship between disclosure and depression was found, yet the more interesting results were that responsiveness had a significant, indirect effect on the relationship between disclosure and compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Disclosure may be related to decreased experiences of compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression when responsiveness is also present. Veterinarians may benefit from improved mental well-being knowing that there are opportunities to disclose concerns to peers. Additionally, fellow veterinarians can benefit from understanding how to respond to disclosures in a positive, nonstigmatizing manner.