Professional Quality of Life of Foster and Kinship Carers in Australia, United Kingdom, and the United States: A Scoping Review

Helen McLaren, Emi Patmisari, Yunong Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Professional quality of life (ProQOL) refers to workers’ subjective feelings associated with work involved in helping others who have experienced trauma. It consists of positive and negative aspects, that is, subscales of compassion satisfaction, and burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Foster and kinship caring inherently involves risks associated with exposure to the trauma responses of children in their care. This exposure can lead to poor ProQOL, carer attrition, and placement instability. While limited studies specifically explore ProQOL of carers, many studies have examined factors and interventions related to ProQOL. However, there is a lack of synthesis of these studies. To fill such a research gap, we undertook a scoping review of 70 empirical studies from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, published from 2012 to 2022 reporting on ProQOL, and its related factors and concepts. We applied a multilevel ecosocial construct to examine complex interrelationships between private and governance settings to better understand factors related to ProQOL of carers and interventions aimed to improve it in these dynamic systems. In our review, some studies showed positive outcomes for carers, such as reduced stress or burnout associated with training. However, there was insufficient attention to factors associated with ProQOL at relational and sociopolitical levels. It is crucial to improve carers’ ProQOL or well-being to ensure their retention and placement stability. Long-term systemic improvements require interventions across different levels of the system.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2023


  • burnout
  • compassion satisfaction
  • foster care
  • kinship care
  • quality of life
  • secondary traumatic stress


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