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Research Companion to Organizational Health Psychology

Research Companion to Organizational Health Psychology

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

This timely Research Companion is essential reading to advance the understanding of healthy behaviours within working environments and to identify problems which can be the cause of illness. Containing both theoretical and empirical contributions written by distinguished academics working in Europe, North America and Australia, the book covers leading edge topics ranging from current theories of stress, stress management, and stress in specific occupational groups, such as doctors and teachers, to the relationship of stress with well-being. It provides systematic approaches towards practical actions and stress interventions in working environments and a solid theoretical framework for future research. It will be an essential companion to research on psychology and medicine as well as stress.

Chapter 35: ‘Burning In’ – ‘Burning Out’ in Public: Aspects of the Burnout Process in Community-Based Psychiatric Services

Thomas Hyphantis and Venetsanos Mavreas

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


35 ‘Burning in’ – ‘burning out’ in public: aspects of the burnout process in communitybased psychiatric services Thomas Hyphantis and Venetsanos Mavreas Burnout has been defined as a mental process and experience leading to work-related behavior. Its main components, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and decreased sense of personal accomplishment (Maslach and Jackson, 1986), refer to mental experiences and symptoms similar to those of the well-known negative style of thinking which is common in depressive disorders (Beck et al., 1979). All definitions of the burnout process (Pines, 1983; Farber, 1983; Lee and Ashforth, 1990; Kuremyr et al., 1994; Bendow, 1998; Iacovides et al., 2003) underline the fact that burnout commonly appears in emotionally demanding situations and that it is especially common in the staff of human service workers, acknowledging ‘the unique pressures of utilizing one’s self as the “tool” in face to face work with the needy, demanding and often troubled clients’ (Farber, 1983). This holds especially true for professionals working in the mental health services. Psychoanalytic (Fischer, 1983), cybernetic (Heifetz and Bersani, 1983) or social competence models (Harrison, 1983) have been applied in order to clarify the nature of burnout. It is worth pointing out that Farber (1983) described burnout as ‘the result of being stressed and having no “out” ’, while Harrison (1983) suggested that burnout will be developed by ‘persons who highly value their work but are unable to achieve the desired goals rather than accomplish a sense of competence’. Thinking according to the psychoanalytical process, that is...

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