Combatting burnout

Ayala Pines, Elliot Aronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Burnout, defined as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, typically occurs as a result of working with people over long periods of time in situations that are emotionally demanding. The paper presents Burnout Workshops as a strategy for combatting burnout, describing in detail a study in which the short- and long-term impacts of one workshop were evaluated. The study used a nonequivalent control group design. This design involves an experimental and a control group, both constituting naturally assembled collectives as similar as possible. Both groups are given a pretest and a posttest. The assignment of the experimental manipulation is random. Fifty-three employees from two presumably very similar social service offices participated in the study (23 from the experimental office, 30 from the control office). A questionnaire, including a self-diagnosis burnout instrument, a description of work features as well as stress and satisfaction from various work activities, was administered to the subjects three times: (1) pretest: one week before the workshop to establish a base line; (2) short-term posttest: one week after the workshop; (3) long-term posttest: six months after the workshop. In addition, a short feedback questionnaire was administered to the experimental group immediately after the workshop. The small samples and subjects' attrition in the two post-tests raise doubts about the validity and generalizability of the data. With numerous reservations taken into account, the overall comparison of the pretest and short-term posttest, in both experimental and control groups, suggests that the workshop had an impact in two areas: (1) Increased awareness of the relationship between various work features and the experience of burnout; (2) a slight decrease in burnout and an increase in satisfaction from supervisors, from the department, from the public, from the case load, and mainly from co-workers. The major impact of the workshop on the social aspects of the job, though weakened, still remained evident after six months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-275
Number of pages13
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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