Professional Quality of Life Measure

Can I Use the ProQOL and other FAQ

Q: I want to use the ProQOL for my research. How do I get permission to use it?

A: Permission to use the ProQOL is on the measure itself. See the research page on this site for more information.

Q: I understand that the ProQOL 5 is the current version of the Compassion Fatigue Self Test or the Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Test. What happens to the old tests?

A: The ProQOL is the current version of the earlier tests. The scales are the same and the “tone” of the measure is the same across the versions. The new version it is a much better test. It is more psychometrically sound, and it is shorter reducing the burden on the test taker. Additional information can be found in the ProQOL manual (

Q: May I use the ProQOL?

A: Yes. We encourage people to use the measure. The permission you need to use the measure is on the test itself in the footer.

Q: Do I have to pay for the ProQOL?

A: No. We have intentionally kept the ProQOL available at no or low cost in order to make it easy to use for anyone, anywhere in the world.

Q: May I make copies of the measure?

A: The permission that you need is in the copyright agreement at the bottom of the measure. You may use the measure freely as long as (a) author is credited, (b) no changes are made, and (c) it is not sold.

Q: May I reformat the ProQOL? For example, could I convert it into an online format or a recorded text for people with vision impairments?

A: You may reformat the measure to fit with your needs. Please make sure to keep the content the same.

Q: May I change the ProQOL to better match the people that I am working with?

A: Yes. We tried to use the most generic form of address we could find, “helper” but we recognize that this is not suitable for everyone. Thus, we include permission to replace the word helper and its derivatives with words that are more suited for your group. You will note on the measure that the terms are in bracket and italicized. You may replace the bracketed term with one that is more suitable for your group. If you are working with teachers, for example, you may want to replace helper with teacher and help with teach. For nurses, replace the word helper with nurse and help with nurse. For attorneys, replace the word helper with attorney and help with represent and so forth. You do not need to seek special permission to make these changes.

Q: How is the ProQOL typically used?

A: People typically use the ProQOL one of three ways

·         For research studies.

·         To monitor the professional quality of life among staff at an organization like a state’s social wokers or group such as aid workers.

·         To self-monitor one’s status for personal interest.

Q: Who is the “target” of the ProQOL?

A: While therapists were the original target, the measure is used widely with other groups including medical health professionals (particularly nurses), teachers, lawyers, humanitarian workers, social service employees, public service employees such as law enforcement, reporters and journalists, juries at trials, and even soldiers and peace keepers. The key to the ProQOL’s appropriateness is the theoretical possibility of being exposed to another’s potentially traumatizing material as a result of paid or volunteer work. If this relationship can exist, the measure is likely appropriate.

Q: I am interested in working with family caregivers. Is the ProQOL appropriate for these people?

A: We do not recommend the ProQOL for family caregivers. There are a number of measures for family caregivers available. You may wish to check The Caregiver Burden Scale which can be seen at, or others to find something that meets your needs.

Q: Can you tell me about the articles that have been published using the measure?

A: We try to keep a comprehensive and reasonably up-to-date bibliography at We recommend that you check the PILOTS database at the National Center for PTSD for additional references

Q: Where can I get more information about the ProQOL, and secondary/vicarious traumatization or Compassion Fatigue?

A: You can find many handouts and documents at the “Handouts” link. There is more technical information on the “Research” link at If you are looking for handouts and a quick overview, the handouts section is the best location. If you are looking for more scientific and research detailed information, go to the research section of

Q: Is there a single score for the measure across all of the three scales?

A: No. We have tried for years to create a composite score without success. However, we are not giving up! The reason there is no sensible composite score is that we as yet do not fully understand the relationship between Compassion Satisfaction, Burnout and Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma. One of the problems encountered over the years was the problems with the original scale that clearly showed collinearity between the scales. Thus, we revised the scales to minimize the destructive effects of collinearity and are now re-collecting data to see if we can understand the inter-relatedness of the three scales. In fact, this would be a great dissertation for someone!

Q: I am only interested in Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma. Can I use just the Compassion Fatigue Scale?

A: We strongly suggest this is not a good idea. While we do not as yet fully understand the relationship between the three subscales, we do know that Compassion Satisfaction is a moderator, if not a mediator of Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma. Burnout rarely exists at the same time as Compassion Satisfaction and when both Burnout and Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma are present, it seems to suggest the most negative outcome. Thus, we believe it is important to know all three scores. Moreover, including the positive items reduces negative response set, improving the psychometric properties of the scale.

Q: Can I diagnose PTSD from the ProQOL?

A: No. The ProQOL is a screening and research tool that provides information but does not yield a diagnosis. If you suspect PTSD or any other psychopathology as a result of work-related trauma exposure, we suggest you use a clinical diagnostic tool such as the SCID or CAPS. More information about these tools may be obtained using any search engine online.

Q: Can you give me the psychometric information about the measure?

A: Reliability and validity information in contained in the ProQOL Manual which can be found at our website at

Q: What are the cut scores for the measure?

A: We provide norms at the 25th and 75th percentiles. However, we strongly suggest that the measure is most sensitive when using the continuous scores. Please note that the measure is not to be used for diagnostic purposes, and thus, cut scores are typically not used. If your study design requires the less powerful categorization of participants (as opposed to using continuous scores), we suggest the 25th and 75% percentiles provided with the norms.

Q: When I reverse the scores, what do I do with the 0 score?

A: The ProQOL 5 uses the more familiar 1-5 Likert scale so the 0 is no longer an issue.

If you have used the ProQOL IV, below is information about the 0. Please do remember that all of the versions of the ProQOL scores can be compared by using the standardized score.

On the ProQOL IV, the 0 remains 0 and all other scores are reversed. While this seems odd at first, conceptually, you can understand it. The person answering the item selects never/not at all which translates mathematically to a null set, that is 0. The other items are reversed because of the way that they load on the different scales. This is because the concept is the “other side” of the item asked. For example, if I ask if you are happy and you say never, that is a 0. If you say sometimes (2) that can be reverse scored to mostly (4) I am not happy. It is a way to allow the item to be phrased in the positive while addressing the flip side of the concept. Frankly, from a scoring perspective if we had it all to do over again, we would not include 0 in the score. It worked easily originally since all of the items were positive scored. Over time and thousands of data points, we realized that the test was more effective reflecting people’s perceptions when we reverse scored some of the items. Sadly, for the researcher, this causes moments of mathematical consternation. However, for the person taking the measure, it is vastly useful to have an option to respond “not at all, 0” so we have learned to live with the mathematical oddities of the reverse scoring. All of the psychometric analysis has been done using the 0-5 scoring with the items reverse scored 0=0, 1=5, 2=4, 3=3.

Q: If I donate a copy of my data to the databank, will I lose the ownership of my study?

A: No. We never publish any one dataset alone. We always combine databank data so your study will never be published by us. For example, we run analyses by country, types of participants, rural/urban, male/female, etc.

Q: Will someone on your team be on my thesis or dissertation committee?

A: Unfortunately we are not able to participate directly in thesis or dissertation committees. However, should you or your organization wish to partner with the CVT on a research project related to the ProQOL, please email us a short concept note (maximum 5 pages) describing the proposed project at