School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Frederick Volk


Burnout, Attachment, Self-efficacy, Residential, Staff


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The push for least-restrictive care and associated policies has increased the prevalence of youth with higher levels of acuity requiring admission to residential treatment centers. This increased psychiatric severity of children and adolescents served in residential centers places the largest burden on direct-care staff members. As a result, direct-care staff members experience workplace stressors such as staff-member shortages/unplanned call-outs, poor morale, high stress, and burnout. Burnout is widely recognized as a significant hazard for professional caregivers and is a potent barrier to clinical effectiveness. Extant literature on burnout examines individual and organizational factors that lead to burnout experiences, and this study utilized attachment theory and social learning theory to explore the potential predictive nature of self-efficacy on the relationship between staff members’ attachment style and burnout experiences. Correlation analysis revealed that emotional exhaustion correlated positively with depersonalization, but neither component correlated to lack of personal accomplishment. Personal accomplishment correlated negatively with attachment anxiety. Conditional process analysis did not demonstrate a statistically significant predictive effect of self-efficacy across attachment and burnout variables, despite a positive correlation with personal accomplishment, and a negative correlation with attachment anxiety. These findings contribute to the literature on burnout and highlight the importance of identifying protective factors within direct-care staff members that buffer against the effects of burnout.

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