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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/1792

Title: Occupational stress, social problem solving, and burnout among mental health professionals in HIV/AIDS care
Authors: Huey, Solam Tsang
Keywords: Clinical Psychology;Job stress;Problem solving
Issue Date: 5-Sep-2007
Abstract: The burnout syndrome is a multidimensional process consisting of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal achievement affecting health and service workers. Mental health professionals have particular vulnerabilities to occupational stress and burnout due to the nature of their work, and those who work with HIV/AIDS individuals are believed to face additional demands. The current study had three objectives: 1) To examine the relationships between occupational stress, social problem solving ability, and burnout among mental health professionals who work with HIV/AIDS individuals; 2) To predict the dimensions of burnout from occupational stress and social problem solving ability, and; 3) To examine whether social problem solving ability moderates the effects of occupational stress on burnout. Following Dillman’s Tailored Design Method, a mail survey measuring demographic and professional information, negative life stress, occupational stress, social problem solving ability, and burnout was sent to a heterogeneous group of 200 mental health professionals working with HIV/AIDS individuals. The total return rate was 63% (n = 126), with 39% (n = 78) meeting study inclusion criteria. Results indicated that occupational stress significantly correlated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, while social problem solving ability significantly correlated with all three dimensions of burnout. Occupational stress predicted emotional exhaustion and depersonalization even after controlling for demographic, professional, and negative life stress factors. Social problem solving ability predicted only personal accomplishment above and beyond demographic, professional, negative life stress, and occupational stress factors. Lastly, social problem solving ability did not moderate the relationship between occupational stress and burnout, suggesting that more effective problem solving may not buffer against burnout under higher levels of occupational stress. However, there may be some benefits to using an impulsive response style in decreasing emotional exhaustion. Results suggest that evaluating mental health professionals’ social problem solving ability in addition to occupational stress may allow for better identification of those who may be at risk of burnout. Implications of findings, study limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/1792
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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