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Res Dev Disabil. 2015 Jan;36C:404-412. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.10.033. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

Exposure to aggressive behaviour and burnout in direct support providers: The role of positive work factors.

Author information

1
Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1. Electronic address: jennifer.hensel@mail.utoronto.ca.
2
Dual Diagnosis Service, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 1001 Queen St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6J 1H4. Electronic address: yona.lunsky@camh.ca.
3
Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1. Electronic address: Carolyn.dewa@camh.ca.

Abstract

Many direct support providers (DSPs) are exposed to aggressive behaviour in their work supporting adults with developmental disabilities service recipients. This is a work environment factor that has been linked to job burnout. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of positive work factors on emotional exhaustion (EE) among DSPs who are exposed to aggressive behaviour. Survey responses from 671 DSPs who were working in community service settings for adults with developmental disabilities, and were exposed to aggressive behaviour at least monthly were examined. Hierarchical linear regression examined the direct contribution and moderating role of positive work factors (self-efficacy for dealing with aggression and work contributions) on EE measured with the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey, after controlling for demographics, occupational variables, exposure to aggression and negative emotional reactions to aggression. Results showed that younger age, more experience, more depression/anger emotions in response to aggression, lower self-efficacy and low positive work contributions were significantly associated with EE. Positive work motivation was a moderator of exposure to aggression and EE. When work motivations were low, DSPs were more negatively affected by higher exposure to aggression. These findings suggest that in addition to addressing the negative emotional reactions to the aggressive behaviour encountered at work, it is also important to foster positive work factors which may be protective against EE.

KEYWORDS:

Aggressive behaviour; Direct support providers; Emotional Exhaustion; Self-efficacy; Work Motivation

PMID:
25462500
DOI:
10.1016/j.ridd.2014.10.033

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