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How Do Your Work Relationships Affect Burnout?
  • Robert Preidt
  • Posted March 18, 2020

How Do Your Work Relationships Affect Burnout?

Being recognized for your efforts at work could reduce your risk of burnout, new research suggests.

Emotional exhaustion, decreased productivity and depersonalization (loss of identity) are characteristics of burnout, a widespread problem that takes a significant toll on workers and employers, the researchers said.

For the study, they asked 328 employees to complete a questionnaire about professional recognition and burnout. Those reporting higher levels of recognition from colleagues had lower symptoms of burnout.

The researchers then had 220 employees complete a more detailed questionnaire. It focused on three specific types of recognition: esteem, respect and care. The results underlined that recognition from colleagues and supervisors can be important in protecting against burnout.

"[O]ur findings suggest that organizational policies should systematically address the different forms that recognition at work can take (esteem, respect, and care) and the sources from which it can originate (coworkers and supervisors) as a key factor in protecting against burnout," said researchers led by Daniela Renger of Kiel University in Germany.

Symptoms of exhaustion were lower among employees who reported higher levels of respect from coworkers and supervisors. Higher levels of respect from coworkers and care from supervisors were associated with lower signs of depersonalization.

Esteem from coworkers and supervisors was associated with feelings of personal accomplishment, according to the findings published in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Previous studies have reported that colleague support, especially from supervisors, protects against burnout. In a journal news release, the authors said this study is the first to examine how different forms and sources of workplace support affect burnout symptoms.

More information

HelpGuide.org has more on burnout.

SOURCE: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, news release, March 10, 2020
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