Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Morse, David T.

Committee Member

Jackson, Deborah L.

Committee Member

Dooley, Kathy M.

Committee Member

Justice, Cheryl A.

Committee Member

Monaghan, Christy L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Counselor Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Veterinary medicine is an intense profession that begins with rigorous and demanding veterinary training. Within veterinary training, technical competencies generally receive more attention and emphasis than non-technical competencies, leaving many veterinarians at increased risk for compassion fatigue and other forms of mental illness. Two non-technical competencies that need further empirical investigation are communication and the influence of compassion on veterinarians. Communication is central to veterinary success; communication style was measured using the Communication Styles Inventory. Compassion has been recognized as having both positive effects (satisfaction) and negative effects (fatigue); compassion experiences were measured using a version of the Professional Quality of Life Scale. This research study investigated the relationship between compassion experiences and communication styles of 4th-year veterinarians-in-training using a canonical correlation analysis. Differences in compassion experiences and in communication styles among men and women veterinarians-in-training were investigated using 2 one-way MANOVAs. Results indicated that communication style of 4th-year veterinary students is statistically significantly related to their compassion experiences (n = 281; Function 1, Rc = .552, p < .001; Function 2,Rc = .369, p < .001). Compassion fatigue was found to have a statistically significant association with the communication styles of Emotionality (r = .467, p < .001), Impression Manipulativeness (r = .191, p = .001), and Verbal Aggressiveness (r = .239, p = .001). Compassion satisfaction was found to have a statistically significant association with the communication style of Expressiveness (r = -.326, p = .001). Men and women veterinarians-in-training showed statistically significantly different communication styles (p < .001), with women showing higher levels of Emotionality (p = .001) and men showing higher levels of Impression Manipulativeness (p = .005). Men and women veterinarians-in-training showed statistically significantly different compassion experiences (p = .044); however, univariate effects yielded no significant differences in levels of fatigue or satisfaction. Using the Compassion Fatigue Resilience Model as the theoretical framework, results indicate that veterinary training programs should consider providing specific training that will help students build skills and resources to help manage their styles of communication to decrease risk of developing compassion fatigue and increase levels of compassion satisfaction.