Masters Thesis

Court appointed special advocates: differences between those who will continue after their first case and those who will quit

The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization has indicated that one of its largest problems is CASA retention. Participants were CASAs who self-assigned to two groups: Continue (n = 188) and Quit (n = 208). It was hypothesized that greater secondary stress and less social support would increase the likelihood of quitting CASA and higher burnout scores and the propensity to practice passive coping strategies, as opposed to active coping strategies, would increase the likelihood of quitting CASA. Greater levels of two components of secondary stress, avoidance and arousal, were significantly predictive of quitting. Social support alone was not predictive of quitting. However, interactions were found which showed that those with low arousal and high avoidance were more likely to quit if social support was low. Higher burnout significantly predicted higher likelihood of quitting; however, coping did not add significant prediction. A post hoc analysis examined passive coping and social support. Greater passive coping significantly increased the likelihood of quitting. Social support variables alone were not significant predictors of quitting; however, an interaction was found between passive coping and coworker social support, as well as passive coping and top management social support. Those with high passive coping scores were more likely to quit if coworker social support was low and if top management social support was high. CASA should implement changes to training that will help CASAs gain professional efficacy and lower cynicism. CASA should also make attempts to increase social support among CASAs, and between CASAs and their supervisors.