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Recovery From Burnout During a One-Year Rehabilitation Intervention With Six-Month Follow-Up: Associations With Coping Strategies
Abstract and Figures
This study explored burnout and coping longitudinally by applying a person-oriented approach to employees (n = 85) referred for burnout rehabilitation. We investigated burnout (measured by Maslach Burnout Inventory – General Survey) symptom trajectories and their associations with coping (measured by Coping Inventory with Stressful Situations) during a 1-year rehabilitation intervention with 6-month follow-up. The study included two rehabilitation interventions (each lasting 5 + 12 days) with four measurements. The results indicated four trajectories for exhaustion and three each for cynicism and reduced professional efficacy. The trajectories comprised employees who either recovered from burnout or whose symptoms showed some decrease across time. Additionally, a subgroup of employees was identified whose symptoms increased across time, but also a subgroup reporting no burnout symptoms across time. Burnout recovery was evident only in exhaustion and was associated with decreased emotion-oriented coping. This coping strategy was the most susceptible to rehabilitation, that is, it decreased linearly during the intervention. Nonrecovery, that is, stable or increased serious burnout, was related to increased use of avoidance-oriented coping. Additionally, among those with stable mild or stable no symptoms of burnout, two coping strategies often changed across time. This may indicate that these employees have more resources and resilience to vary or regulate their coping strategies in response to the stressful situation. In this study, working with negative emotional responses (i.e., emotion-focus coping) was associated with alleviation of burnout, which thus appears to be an important rehabilitation activity. However, more precise targeting and tailoring of burnout rehabilitation is clearly needed.
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