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Soc Work. 2011 Jul;56(3):258-68.

Burnout and physical health among social workers: A three-year longitudinal study.

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Department of Sociology, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.


The high risk of burnout in the social work profession is well established, but little is known about burnout's impact on the physical health of social workers. This article examines the relationship between burnout and physical health, using data from a longitudinal study of social workers. California-registered social workers (N = 406) were surveyed annually over a three-year period. Using structural equation modeling, the authors conducted a path analysis to test whether burnout predicted changes in physical health over time.The results showed that social workers with higher initial levels of burnout later reported more physical health complaints. Moreover, higher levels of burnout led to a faster rate of deterioration in physical health over a one-year period.The potential implications for policy and social service organizations are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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