Laura Sharman 12 December 2019

Foster parents at risk of burnout and stress, study warns

Foster carers are more likely to suffer from secondary traumatic stress due to their exposure to the trauma stories of their foster children, a study has revealed.

The research, by psychologists at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), also found more than 75% of those surveyed experienced primary trauma in their role.

It warns that foster carers need more support to combat stress and burnout.

Kay Bridger, lead author of the study and PhD researcher at NTU’s School of Social Sciences, said: 'Our study showed that many foster carers remain motivated despite stress, but for this caring role to be maintained their wellbeing needs to be taken care of. It can be a stressful role for many reasons, including behavioural issues of the children, but there has been little consideration of STS as an additional factor.

'The role of foster carers is very different to other helping professionals because it is home based, and so they have much less ability to set boundaries about when the role affects them, unlike nurses or social workers for instance who can draw a line under their work somewhat more easily.'

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