A recent survey about stress and compassion fatigue in caregiving parents shows the problem is real, pervasive, and concerning. The statistics show the extent of its reach.

Stress and compassion fatigue is real for parents caring for kids with special needs. Not only is it real, the number of people who completed a recent survey on the subject show that stress and compassion fatigue is a huge issue for families. This series examines the survey in depth, starting with a statistical overview of the results. Part 2 of the series will take a deep dive into the comments made by those who completed the survey. How huge?

  • 1,408 respondents completed the survey.
  • 1,408 respondents completed the survey in one month.
  • 1,408 respondents completed the survey in one month, though its primary promotion was a few posts on Facebook.
  • 1,408 respondents completed the survey in one month, though its primary promotion was a few posts on Facebook with no ad money spent.

By itself, that statistic reveals the magnitude of stress and compassion fatigue in caregiving parents. A look at their compiled answers shows the effect of stress on parents.

  • 98% said caregiving duties cause extra stress in their daily lives.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, the average stress level of parents was 6.4.
  • 91% said caregiving has affected their mental health.
  • 87% said caregiving has affected their physical health.
  • 65% indicated willingness to be interviewed for a book on the subject of stress and compassion fatigue in caregiving families.

The major causes of stress for respondents were as follows:

  • Overwhelming demands: 25%
  • Isolation: 20%
  • Financial constraints: 12%
  • Lack of emotional support: 10%
  • Lack of available resources: 9%
  • Lack of practical support: 9%
  • Grief: 3%
  • Other: 11%

When asked to indicate any and all of the following stressors they face on a regular basis, here’s how they responded:

  • Sleep deprivation: 77%
  • Excessive paperwork: 44%
  • Insurance coverage issues: 39%
  • Government program issues: 37%
  • Spiritual doubts and questions: 30%
  • Unreliable hired caregivers: 27%
  • Other: 26%

The results of the survey make me very sad. They show that parents who love their children dearly are shouldering heavy loads.
The results of the survey strengthen my resolve to begin researching a book about stress and compassion fatigue in caregiving parents.
The results of the survey are a source of hope because 2/3 of these overburdened parents are willing to be interviewed as part of the research.

Thank you to the caregivers who took time out of their busy days to complete the survey.
Thank you for being honest.
Thank you for being willing to share your experiences for the benefit of other parents who need to know they are not alone, who need to know they will make it.
Thank you for being patient. It’s going to take a while to read all 1,408 surveys.
Thank you for being understanding. I wish I could interview all who are willing, but that would take years.

Finally, thank you for your prayers. I will need them while making hard decisions about who to contact, while scheduling interviews, and while shaping what parents share into a book proposal attractive enough to be accepted by a publisher. Only through your prayers and with God’s guidance will this book become a reality.

Part 2

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