What Protects Youth Residential Caregivers from Burning Out? A Longitudinal Analysis of Individual Resilience

Nina Kind, David Bürgin, Jörg M. Fegert, and Marc Schmid - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Abstract: Background: Professional caregivers are exposed to multiple stressors and have high burnout rates; however, not all individuals are equally susceptible. We investigated the association between resilience and burnout in a Swiss population of professional caregivers working in youth residential care. Methods: Using a prospective longitudinal study design, participants (n = 159; 57.9% women) reported on burnout symptoms and sense of coherence (SOC), self-efficacy and self-care at four annual sampling points. The associations of individual resilience measures and sociodemographic variables, work-related and personal stressors, and burnout symptoms were assessed. Cox proportional hazards regressions were calculated to compute hazard ratios over the course of three years. Results: Higher SOC, self-efficacy and self-care were related to lower burnout symptoms in work-related and personal domains. Higher SOC and self-efficacy were reported by older caregivers and by those with children. All three resilience measures were highly correlated. A combined model analysis weakened the protective effect of self-efficacy, leaving only SOC and self-care negatively associated with burnout. Conclusion: This longitudinal analysis suggests that SOC and self-caring behaviour in particular protect against burnout. Our findings could have implications for promoting self-care practices, as well as cultivating a meaningful, comprehensible and manageable professional climate in all facets of institutional care.