Life Satisfaction

General well-being in this assessment is measured by the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS).  As one of the hallmark components of well-being, life satisfaction has been recognized as a distinctive concept (Pavot & Diener, 2008) used to refer to the cognitive-judgmental aspect of one’s global satisfaction with life (Diener, 1985). Although life satisfaction is correlated with other components of subjective well-being, such as positive and negative affect, it represents a unique factor.  In addition, global life satisfaction is also highly correlated with domain-specific satisfaction such as job satisfaction (Pavot & Diener, 2008).

Compassion Satisfaction

Helping professionals experience many intrinsic emotional rewards from caring for people and often helping them make changes for the better.  Compassion satisfaction is the term used to describe this powerful phenomenon.  For those serving in healthcare occupations, few experiences are more rewarding than serving patients on their healing journey, whether healing is curative in nature or palliative in the case of end-of-life care (Shapiro, Brown, & Biegel, 2007); Stamm (2002) identified Compassion Satisfaction as a possible factor that counterbalances the risks of Compassion Fatigue and suggested that this may account for the “resiliency of the human spirit” (p.110).

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue, first defined by Figley (1986), describes an evolving concept and is known in the field of traumatology as secondary traumatic stress or vicarious trauma that is experienced by those in the helping professions (Figley, 2002). Most often this phenomena of compassion fatigue is associated with the "cost of caring" for others in emotional pain or strife.  It is a stress response that emerges suddenly and without warning and often includes a sense of helplessness, isolation and confusion.  If not attended to, Compassion Fatigue may lead to depression and stress-related illnesses (Figley, 1995, 2002).

The greatest weapon against stress is to choose one thought over another
— William James


Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71-75.

Figley, C. R. (1986). Trauma and its wake Volume II: Traumatic stress theory, research, and intervention (1 st ed.). New York: Routledge.

Figley, C. R. (1995). Compassion Fatigue : Coping with Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder in Those Who Treat the Traumatized. New York: Routledge.

Figley, C. R. (2002). Treating compassion fatigue. New York: Routledge.

Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The Satisfaction With Life Scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(2), 137-152. doi:10.1080/17439760701756946

Pavot, W., Diener, E. (1993). Review of the Satisfaction With Life Scale. Psychological Assessment, 5(2), 164-172.

Shapiro, S. L., Brown, K. W., & Biegel, G. M. (2007). Teaching Self-Care to Caregivers: Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on the Mental Health of Therapists in Training. Training & Education in Professional Psychology, 1(2), 105-115. doi:10.1037/1931-3918.1.2.105

Stamm, B. (2002). Measuring compassion satisfaction as well as fatigue: Developmental history of the Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Test. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Treating compassion fatigue (pp. 107-119): New York: Brunner-Routledge.