This chapter provides data to support the theoretical model presented in Chapter 12. Briefly summarized, the model proposes that an individual’s underlying EMS and maladaptive coping styles constitute a psychological vulnerability, which makes an individual more prone to developing the stress syndromes identified in Chapter 6. In this study, two main hypotheses relating to the model are tested:

1 Individuals within the helping professions choose their respective occupations partly in order re-enact their EMS. They place themselves in work situations reminiscent of some earlier trauma, in the hope that they will work through their (unconscious) conflicts, modify their early maladaptive schemata and achieve mastery. In this context work is therapeutic and adaptive for the majority of individuals.