Burnout in child welfare: The role of employment characteristics and workplace opportunities

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This study uses caseworker and agency data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being to explore the relationship among employment characteristics, workplace opportunities for need satisfaction, and burnout among child welfare workers. In a four-step process, linear-regression models are estimated to determine whether employment characteristics are associated with worker burnout and to test whether workplace opportunities for achievement, autonomy, and affiliation mediate the relationships. The author finds annual salary, adoption work, and whether the agency operates under a consent decree to be negatively associated with burnout. Opportunities for achievement, autonomy, and affiliation mediate the association between consent decrees and burnout, but worker pay and adoption work remain statistically significant inverse predictors of burnout. The article concludes by discussing implications for policy and future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-659
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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