Barriers to compassionate care, team climate and healthcare professionals’ mental health and wellbeing

Aisling Buckley

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Both teamwork and giving compassionate care have been shown to be beneficial for the mental health and wellbeing of healthcare professionals (Veale et al., 2014, Fernando & Consedine 2014a, Crawford et al., 2014, Borrill,et al. 2000a). However, barriers to compassionate care (paperwork, high caseloads, complex presentations etcetera) have been demonstrated to relate to poorer mental health and wellbeing in healthcare staff (Owen & Wanzer 2014, Maben et al., 2012b, Reid et al., 1999, Wood et al., 2011). Elsewhere in the literature, self-compassion has been proposed as a means by which resilience to anxiety, stress and depression is enhanced (Neff & McGehee, 2010). The current study investigated the relationships of team climate and barriers to compassionate care with mental health and wellbeing in healthcare staff. The study also proposed that self-compassion moderates the relationships between team climate and barriers to compassion on distress and wellbeing, and an exploration of this formed the third aim of this study. The study followed a cross sectional, correlational design using self-report data from online questionnaires. Ninety-six clinical staff working across two Mental Health trusts in the greater London area completed five questionnaires; the Barriers to Physician Compassion Questionnaire, the Self- Compassion scale short form, the Team Climate Inventory short form, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale short form and the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale. The results revealed that there was no significant relationship between team climate and distress or wellbeing, but that barriers to compassionate care correlated positively with distress, and the burnout/overload subscale correlated negatively with wellbeing. Self-compassion was found to moderate these relationships at low levels of self-compassion, at the mean and below for distress, and more than one standard deviation below the mean for wellbeing. The results indicated that healthcare professionals could benefit from a brief intervention aimed at increasing self-compassion.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
Award date1 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2017


  • compassionate care
  • self-compassion
  • Wellbeing
  • distress
  • team climate

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