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ProQOL-5 - Professional Quality of Life Scale-5

The Professional Quality of Life Scale is a 30 item self-report measure of the positive and negative effects of working with people who have experienced extremely stressful events. The ProQol contains three subscales measuring Compassion Fatigue, Burnout and Compassion Satisfaction.




Beth Hudnall Stamm

Stamm, B.H. (2010). The Concise ProQOL Manual, 2nd Ed. Pocatello, ID:

Contact Information: 

The measure and manual may be freely copied as long as:

(a) author is credited

(b) no changes are made

(c) it is not sold except for in agreement specifically with the author

The ProQOL-5 can be downloaded at:

Domain Assessed: 
Traumatic Stress
Relationships and Attachment
Subcategories of Domains Assessed: 
Secondary Traumatic Stress, Burnout, Compassion Fatigue
Age Range: 
Measure Type: 
General Assessment
Measure Format: 


Number of Items: 
Average Time to Complete (min): 
Reporter Type: 
Average Time to Score (min): 
The ProQOL itself is stable across time, which means that the scores across time reflect changes in the person, not in the measure itself. Some people self-administer the ProQOL at a regular self-determined interval as part of a self-care plan.
Response Format: 

5 point rating scale





5=very often

Materials Needed: 
Sample Items: 
DomainsSample Items
Compassion Fatigue"I feel as though I am experiencing the trauma of someone I have helped" "I avoid certain activities or situations because they remind me of frightening experiences of the people I help"
Burnout"I feel trapped by my job as a helper" "I feel worn out because of my work as a helper"
Compassion Satisfaction" I am happy" "I believe I can make a difference through my work"
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks
Continuous Assessment
Other Information Provided: 

The ProQOL is not a diagnostic tool. It is a measure of the effects of working with clients/patients who are trauma exposed or who have endured very stressful events. A score is calculated in each domain and cutoff scores are provided to interpret results. The manual provides some guidance on how to interpret scores across domains.


Training to Interpret: 

Parallel or Alternate Forms

Parallel Forms: 
Alternate Forms: 
Different Age Forms: 
Altered Version Forms: 


Notes on Psychometric Norms: 

Main group norms can apply to any helping profession.

References for Reliability: 

This measure has 3 distinct scales (compassion satisfaction (CS), burn out (BO), and compassion fatigue (CF). The item-to-scale statistics have seen improvement due to an increase in specificity and a reduction in colinearity. CS alpha reliabilities = .87 BO alpha reliabilities = .72 CF alpha reliabilities = .80 Early information on test-retest data show good reliability.

Content Validity Evaluated: 
Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot knownNot foundNonclincal SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to Changex
Intervention Effectsx
Longitudinal/Maturation Effects
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct Groupsx
Factorial Validity
References for Construct Validity: 

Gallavan, D.B., Newman, J.L. (2013). Predictors of burnout among correctional mental health professionals. Psychological Services, 10(1), 115-122.

Stamm, B.H. (2005). The Professional Quality of Life Scale: Compassion Satisfaction, Burnout & Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma Scales. Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press.

Construct validity also well documented in over 200 articles- see:

Stamm, B.H. (1999). Secondary Traumatic Stress: Self-Care Issues for Clinicians, Researchers, and Educators, (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Sidran Press.

Thomas, J.T., Otis, M.D. (2010). Intrapsychic correlates of professional quality of life: Mindfulness, empathy, and separation. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 1(2), 83-98.

Criterion Validity Evaluated: 
Overall Psychometric Limitations: 

Psychometric problems found in earlier versions of the ProQOL have been addressed in this newest version, the ProQOL Version 5. This was done by retaining the strongest items from various studies using previous versions of the ProQOL.

Stamm, B.H. (2005) The Professional Quality of Life Scale: Compassion Satisfaction, Burnout & Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma Scales. Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press.

Stamm, B.H. (2010) The Concise ProQOL Manual, 2nd Ed. Pocatello, ID:

Population Information

Population Used for Measure Development: 

Professional quality of life is the quality one feels in relation to their work as a helper. Both the positive and negative aspects of doing one's job influence ones professional quality of life.

The population sampled when developing this measure were people who work in helping professions that respond to individual, community, national, and even international crises. The population of helpers sampled were found in health care, social service workers, teachers, attorneys, police officers, firefighters, clergy, airline and other transportation staff, disaster site clean-up crews, and others who offer assistance at the time of the event or later.

Populations with which Measure Has Demonstrated Reliability and Validity: 
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Medical Trauma
Witness Death
Natural Disaster
Domestic Violence
Community Violence
Traumatic Loss (Death)
Immigration Related Trauma
Other Populations: 
Prolonged vicarious exposure to trauma details experienced by clients, patients, or victims

Pros & Cons/References


Utilizing the ProQOL to assess Compassion Fatigue, Burnout, Secondary Traumatic Stress, and Compassion Satisfaction support reported field experience and some research documenting that organizational prevention programs are believed to help maximize helpers' well-being (CS) and reduce the risks for developing compassion fatigue and secondary trauma.
The ProQOL is widely used as an individual assessment for risk management and intervention strategic planning as well as a guide for supervision and training for early intervention, risk reduction, and resilience building.
Group administration of the ProQOL in organizational programs show the worker that organizational leaders have formally addressed the potential for work to affect the worker creating opportunities for collaborative organizational change to address the challenges of working in the field of trauma intervention.
Individual administration can provide ongoing assessment to track severity of distress, personal change overtime, and intervention outcomes (i.e. from implementing a self-care plan and increasing awareness of personal risk factors).


Administering the ProQOL without any support or training about the impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout could lead to increased distress and isolation.
Organizational administration of the ProWQOL without a clear plan for training or risk reduction and resilience building strategies for staff can increase staff distress as they become more aware of the risk without clear organizational risk management interventions for staff exposed to secondary trauma.
Organizations, managers, and supervisors who administer the ProQOL with staff should protect the confidentiality of staff and refrain from utilizing ProQOL data to evaluate staff performance.

Author Comments: 

1. Figley, C.R. (Ed.) (1995). Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. New York: Brunner/Mazel.

2. Pearlman, L.A., & Saakvitne, K.W. (1995). Trauma and the therapist: Countertransference and vicarious traumatization in psychotherapy with incest survivors. New York: Norton.

3. Stamm, B.H. (Ed.). (1995). Secondary Traumantic Stress: Self-care issues for clinicians, researchers, and educators. Maryland: Sidran Press: Lutherville.

4. cf Baird, K., & Kracen, A.C. (2006). Vicarious traumatization and secondary traumatic stress: A research synthesis. Couseling Psychology Quarterly, 19(2), 181-188.

5. Kadambi, M.A., & Ennis, L. (2004). Reconsidering vicarious trauma: A review of the literature and its' limitations. Journal of Trauma Practice, 3(2), 1-21.

6. Arvay, M. J. (2001). Secondary traumatic stress among trauma counselors: What does the research say? International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, 23(4), 283-293.

Developer of Review: 
Leslie Anne Ross, Psy. D.
Last Updated: 
Monday, June 16, 2014