Journal Article

Differences between Children's Social Workers and Adults' Social Workers on Sense of Burnout, Work Conditions and Organisational Social Support

Liat Hamama

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 42, issue 7, pages 1333-1353
Published in print October 2012 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr135
Differences between Children's Social Workers and Adults' Social Workers on Sense of Burnout, Work Conditions and Organisational Social Support

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This research study aimed to examine the experience of burnout among 232 Israeli social workers (126 who were directly treating children and adolescents and 106 who were directly treating adults). Burnout was investigated in relation to social workers' demographic characteristics, extrinsic and intrinsic work conditions, and social support at the workplace by colleagues, their direct supervisor and the head of their agency. Social workers of children did not report a higher experience of burnout than social workers of adults in Israel. Both groups indicated, on average, a moderate intensity of burnout. However, significant differences emerged between the two groups on perceived work conditions and on support from the agency head. That is, children's social workers perceived better extrinsic work conditions than workers of adults, who reported better intrinsic working conditions. In addition, children's social workers reported higher support from their agency heads than did workers serving adults. Burnout was significantly negatively correlated with age, professional experience, intrinsic and extrinsic work conditions, and social support from colleagues within the organisation and from the agency head. Professional experience and support from colleagues and from the agency head contributed significantly to explaining the variance in burnout intensity. Moreover, intrinsic work conditions mediated between professional experience and experience of burnout. Various explanations for these findings are discussed.

Keywords: Mental health; practitioners; social support

Journal Article.  7179 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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