Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Yinger


As helping professionals, music therapists show compassion to their clients but may lack necessary self-care skills to prevent burnout and promote well-being. Due to a lack of research in this area, this study investigated reported levels of compassion for others, self-compassion, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction among music therapists in relation to age, gender, and years of professional experience. A survey of 575 board certified music therapists in the USA revealed higher levels of compassion for others than self-compassion, low levels of burnout and secondary traumatic stress, and high levels of compassion satisfaction. Burnout strongly negatively correlated with both self-compassion and compassion satisfaction and strongly positively correlated with secondary traumatic stress. A MANCOVA revealed significant differences in compassion for others and compassion satisfaction based on gender, with female participants reporting significantly higher scores for both constructs. Additionally, there was a trend related to self-compassion and compassion levels increasing over time. There were strong associations between compassion and self-compassion with burnout and secondary traumatic stress; therefore, it would benefit music therapists to cultivate compassion practices to lower burnout risk.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Music Therapy Commons