Date of Graduation


Document Type



Burnout represents a danger to the mental and physical health of human-service workers. Burnout often diminishes the quality and efficiency of service provided by workers and thus represents a danger to service recipients and a cost to employers. Repeated studies suggest that workers who report higher levels of job stress and lower levels of social support are more likely to report higher levels of burnout. Nursing home staff are subject to considerable occupational stress and report high levels of burnout. The extant literature does not address the relations between stress, support, and burnout in these workers. In the present study relations between burnout, support, and stress were examined. Work and nonwork sources of stress and support were examined. During breaks and between shifts, nursing-home staff members (n = 216) completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Daily Stress Inventory, the Social Provisions Scale, and newly developed measures of occupational stress and support. Subjects reported high levels of stress and burnout relative to norms. Higher levels of burnout were associated with higher levels of stress and lower levels of support. Work and nonwork sources of stress contributed to burnout. Support from work and nonwork sources had important relations with stress and burnout, although support from supervisors was particularly powerful. Results suggest that support can have both direct and buffering effects, and thus, that the direct-effects and buffering models of support are not mutually exclusive. The findings of the present study and future research and intervention/prevention programs which might follow could have wide ranging benefits in nursing homes. Staff who report high levels of stress and burnout have the potential for the most direct benefits. In addition, the employers stand to benefit, given previous research which relates employee stress and burnout to increased tardiness, absenteeism, turnover, theft, and decreased productivity. Finally, the 1.5 million persons currently residing in nursing homes and the 4.6 million persons projected to reside in nursing homes in the year 2040 may benefit through the improved productivity and quality of care which will likely follow decreases in staff stress and burnout.