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California Essentials for Childhood Initiative (CA)

The California Essentials for Childhood Initiative uses a public health and collective impact approach to align and enhance collaborative efforts to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children, youth and families through systems, policy and social norms change.

Journal Article: “Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout Among Refugee Resettlement Workers: The Role of Coping and Emotional Intelligence.”


An article published in Journal of Traumatic Stress (Akinsulure‐Smith, A. M., Espinosa, A., Chu, T., and Hallock, R., 2018, 202–212, (, promotes an enhanced understanding of the impact of refugee resettlement work on refugee resettlement workers by examining the prevalence rates of toxic mental health and occupational outcomes, such as secondary traumatic stress and burnout, among a sample of 210 refugee resettlement workers at six refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. This study explores coping mechanisms utilized by service providers to manage work-related stress and the influence of such strategies and emotional intelligence on secondary traumatic stress and burnout.

The findings show that certain coping strategies, including self-distraction, humor, venting, substance use, behavioral disengagement, and self-blame, are strongly related to toxic outcomes. Emotional intelligence was negatively correlated with all toxic occupational outcomes. In other words, it is possible for emotional intelligence to reduce toxic occupational outcomes such as secondary traumatic stress and burnout.

These findings have potential implications for organizational policy and training, for organizations that employ therapists, child welfare workers, case managers, and other helping professionals involved in the care of traumatized children and their families.

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