An exploration of burnout and compassion fatigue in ABA providers in an online forum
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Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ABA providers develop treatment programs and face occupational hazards. This exploratory, qualitative research examined: 1) “How do ABA providers express experiences of burnout and compassion fatigue (CF) in an online community” and 2) “How do ABA providers receive feedback and support from these expressions”. Data sources were posts on the social media site Reddit, analyzed using directed content analysis. The findings suggest that providers expressed experiences through (a) direct expressions of burnout and CF, (b) seeking support and advice from others, and (c) identifying symptoms of burnout and CF. They received feedback and support by (a) suggestions for resources or coping, (b) sharing similar experiences, (c) validation, (d) negative or dismissive responses. Recommendations include the development of psychoeducational programs to support the mental health of providers and continued research on how providers utilize social media for self-care.