Date of Conferral







Benita Stiles-Smith


In the human services field little is known about the impact of coping strategies on the problem of burnout for primary caregivers of delinquent youth in placement. The purpose of this correlational research was to examine the relationship between coping strategies, youth psychopathology, and burnout. This study was based on Maslach's theory of burnout and Lazarus and Folkman's transactional model of stress and coping. To assess the prevalence of burnout and coping strategies, 82 primary caregivers of adjudicated youth in placement in the state of Michigan, completed self-report questionnaires: the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Brief COPE Inventory, and the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Instrument. Survey packets were hand-delivered to the directors of nine facilities to be dispersed to primary caregivers and retrieved two weeks later. The collected data were analyzed using correlation and regression analysis models. Significant positive correlations were found between emotional exhaustion and emotion-focused and dysfunctional coping as well as depersonalization and dysfunctional coping. Dysfunctional coping was a significant predictor of burnout. Coping strategies mediated the relationship between the psychopathology of the residents and burnout. Social change implications include educating directors of facilities about the detrimental impact of burnout and the value of supporting primary caregivers by offering training programs on effective coping strategies. These findings offer insight for primary caregivers regarding the use of problem-focused coping strategies to reduce vulnerability to burnout, thereby promoting their health and well-being, and their ability to be more productive.