Dissertation Abstract

The Predictive Value of Selected Stressors and Social Support on Burnout in Radiation Therapists

Publication Number:  AAT9947540
Author:  Adams, Robert
School:  North Carolina State University
Date:  1999
Pages:  99
Subject:  Radiation Therapy, Workplace

Burnout represents a danger to the mental and physical health of human service workers. Burnout often diminishes the quality and efficiency of service provided by workers and as such, represents a danger to service recipients and employers. Studies have demonstrated that human service workers who report high levels of job stress and low levels of social support are more likely to experience burnout.

Radiation therapists are subject to considerable individual, interpersonal, and organizational stresses, and report high levels of burnout. In the present study, relationships between stress, burnout, and social support were examined. Both work and non-work sources of stress were evaluated through a random sample of 1,200 radiation therapists working full-time throughout the United States.

Subjects reported high levels of individual, interpersonal, and organizational stress coupled with high levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and decreased sense of personal accomplishment relative to norms. Higher levels of burnout were associated with higher levels of stress and lower levels of social support.

The findings of the present study warrant further research, and suggest that implementation of intervention programs could have wide ranging benefits for radiation therapy facilities. The radiation therapists who report high levels of stress and burnout have the potential to benefit most from interventional programs.

Employers stand to benefit as well, in light of previous research relating employee stress and burnout to increased tardiness, turnover rate, and decreased productivity.

Finally, the 1.2 million people in the United States currently receiving cancer therapy as well as all future cancer patients, may benefit from the improved quality of care and increased productivity which accompanies a decrease in staff stress and burnout.

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