Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Noreen Graf

Second Advisor

Dr. Ralph Carlson

Third Advisor

Dr. Roy Chen


This mixed-methods study focuses on animal shelter workers, a population that has often been overlooked in research and clinical practice, and the emotional strains of the task of euthanasia. The effects of employment in a kill or no-kill shelter, participation in euthanasia, and number of years employed on mental health issues of substance abuse, anxiety, depression, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout were examined. A three-way MANOVA was run to test the hypothesis that there is a cell effect among the type of shelter employed in, participation in euthanasia, and years of experience on mental health, which was not supported by the results. There was, however, a statistically significant main effect of participation in euthanasia on mental health. Univariate tests also showed a statistically significant effect of participation in euthanasia on secondary traumatic stress and burnout. In addition, the lived experiences of animal shelter workers who perform euthanasia were explored. Animal shelter workers also identified coping strategies that helped mitigate the impact of occupational stress.


Copyright 2018 Kim L. Nguyen-Finn. All Rights Reserved.