Exploring the reciprocal causal relationship between job strain and burnout: A longitudinal study of apparently healthy employed persons

Samuel Melamed*, Galit Armon, Arie Shirom, Itzhak Shapira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We used a full-panel longitudinal design to investigate the hypotheses that changes in the components of the Job Demand-Control-Support (JDC-S) model predict changes in burnout over time, and vice versa. The study was conducted on a multi-occupational sample of apparently healthy employed men and women (N = 986), followed-up after 3 years. We found support for both direct and reverse causal relationship between the study variables. Changes over time in the JDC-S components and changes over time in burnout levels mutually influenced each other. No interactive effects among the JDC-S components in the prediction of burnout were found. These findings suggest a predominance of the direct casual relationship between work characteristics and burnout compared with the reverse relationship. The findings remained significant even after controlling for depressive symptoms, neuroticism and other potential confounding variables. An explanation for the dynamic association between work characteristics and burnout uncovered here is offered based on the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory. Based on the COR theory, we outline the theoretical implications of our findings and their relevance for efforts to combat burnout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-281
Number of pages10
JournalStress and Health
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • JDC-S model
  • burnout
  • job strain
  • longitudinal study
  • panel study

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