Date of Conferral
Difficulties experienced at work can cause feelings of burnout that become prolonged and intensified without acts of self-care. The intense nature of mental health workers' jobs may make them, more vulnerable to burnout than other professionals. Because mental health professionals' mental and emotional wellness can significantly affect their work, adequate self-care is critical to both their well-being and that of their clients. Previous researchers have investigated the self-care behaviors of mental health professionals, but little was known about how gender affected the use of these behaviors in burnout prevention among mental health professionals. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship between self-care behaviors and burnout among a sample of 325 mental health professionals working in New York. Differences in the ways male and female mental health professionals practiced self-care behaviors were also investigated. Burnout and gender role theories were used as the theoretical framework. Study instruments included the MBI-HSS and the Brief COPE. Multiple regression analysis and independent sample t tests were employed to analyze survey data. Analysis revealed levels of self-care behaviors were significantly predictive of depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and reduced personal accomplishment. Gender differences in self-care behaviors were indicated for substance use, self-blame, depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and reduced personal accomplishment. Since burnout is a significant problem for many mental health professionals, understanding how self-care affects burnout is critical to promoting behavioral changes among these professionals. Self-care among mental health professionals may improve their professional and personal lives.