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Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Mari Irvin

First Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Second Committee Member

Robert Morrow

Third Committee Member

Judith Hoorn

Abstract

Occupational burnout continues to be a topic of great interest to those individuals who are concerned with the influence of work stress on mental health. Although many workers from a variety of occupations have been the focus of studies of burnout, there are few studies of burnout in firefighters. In conjunction with studying the obvious factors which are believed to be related to burnout in workers, there has been a call for researchers to include personality variables in the study of work stress. Neuroticism has been found to be related to the identification of work-related stressors as well as to be related to the impact of the stressors on workers. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived work-related stressors of firefighters and to determine the predictors of burnout after controlling for age and the personality variable of neuroticism. The research participants for this study included 142 firefighters from the Western U.S. Participants completed questionnaires that included demographic data, work-related background information, perceived work-related stressors, a measure of burnout, and a measure of neuroticism. Following an analysis of the quantitative data obtained from the questionnaires, ten firefighters were interviewed for the purpose of gaining in-depth information regarding the responses in the questionnaires. The findings of this study indicated that there was a great deal of variety in what each participant perceived to be a work-related stressor. A content analysis technique yielded 12 categories of stressors: coworker conflict, patient-related, general work duties, administration, sleep-related, budget-related, change in work station, personal, danger to self, 9-1-1 abuse, public-related, and child abuse. The results of the hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that after controlling for age (step 1), neuroticism (step 2) predicted approximately 21% of the variance in emotional exhaustion, 9% of the variance in depersonalization, and almost 7% of the variance in personal accomplishment. After controlling for age and neuroticism, objective and perceived work-related stressors accounted for an additional 14.6% of the variance in emotional exhaustion and for 13.9% of the variance in depersonalization. Only the objective work-related stressors accounted for an additional 8.9% of the variance in personal accomplishment.

Pages

203

ISBN

9780599689138 , 0599689137

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