Date of Conferral







Susan Marcus


Burnout has emerged as a significant and costly issue in the modern workforce. Researchers have not fully explored the role of individual health behaviors and personality in burnout among mental health workers. The knowledge gap addressed in this study was the connection between health behaviors, what mental health workers do to take care of themselves, and hardiness, the characteristic way they perceive and interpret environmental challenges. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of health behaviors and hardiness among mental health workers on the 3 dimensions of burnout as measured by the MBI-HSS: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. The conservation of resources model and the theory of hardiness provided the framework for selecting variables and interpreting the results. An online survey research design was used with a sample of mental health workers from two nonprofit mental health organizations. A total of 223 participants were recruited through invitations sent to their work e-mail addresses. Statistical analysis included 5 stepwise regression analyses run for each of the 3 burnout dimensions. The results indicated that hardiness was the strongest predictor and was retained in the final model for all the burnout measures. Anger/Stress, a health-compromising behavior, was significantly predictive of Emotional Exhaustion in the final model, and age was included in the final model for Depersonalization. These results suggest that mental health workers are better able to maintain their emotional energy and compassion for clients through the cultivation of hardiness and management of stress; the implications will inform the development of training materials focused on stress management and adapting to change.