School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Jennifer Geyer


burnout, organizational commitment, spiritual fitness, National Guard, occupational stress, sacrificial service, turnover intention


Business | Psychology


This quantitative study examined the relationships between burnout, spiritual fitness, and organizational commitment in National Guard servicemembers. Recent deployments and chronic stressors have resulted in an emergence of mental health concerns, burnout, and turnover intentions in this population. Research has indicated that elements of spirituality address these concerns and suggest that more spiritual individuals are more resilient, less susceptible to burnout, and find positive meaning in work. This study examined these variables using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981), the Organizational Commitment Scale (Meyer & Allen, 1997), and the SOCOM Spiritual Fitness Scale (Alexander et al., 2020). Correlations were used to analyze relationships between burnout and both organizational commitment and spiritual fitness, and linear multiple regression was used to examine whether spiritual fitness moderated the burnout-organizational commitment relationship. The results confirmed the hypotheses that burnout would be inversely associated with organizational commitment (r=-0.21, p>0.01) and that spiritual fitness would be inversely associated with burnout (r=-0.16, p>0.05). Regression results demonstrated that the total spiritual fitness score was not a moderator of the burnout-organizational commitment relationship (β=0.11, p=0.35). But a subscale of spiritual fitness, Service and Sacrifice for the Greater Good (SSGG), or “horizontal spirituality,” did moderate this relationship, such that those high in SSGG maintained organizational commitment levels even when burnout was high (β=0.20, p=0.05). The SSGG commitment to selfless service, altruism, and a common mission aligns with both biblical and theoretical ideas on meaning, purpose, and sacrifice and was relevant for both theist and non-theist individuals in this study. These findings suggest that spiritual fitness could be a cognitive resource for making sense of stressors, and fostering these elements of horizontal spirituality in the workplace could potentially reduce turnover, impact burnout, and enhance organizational commitment.