Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Dr. Valerie Quarles


Burnout among child welfare social workers negatively affects social workers and the social welfare system. The purpose of this action research study was to explore what child welfare social workers do to alleviate burnout. The practice-focused research questions for this study center on two elements: (a) the experiences of burnout among child welfare social workers employed by the Department of Family and Children services in the southeastern region of the United States and (b) the social work practices used to alleviate burnout. The conceptual framework for this study was the Maslach theory on burnout. Action research study procedures were used to facilitate analysis of the research problem. Data were collected using semistructured questions administered to 6 child welfare social workers in a focus group. The selection criteria for the child welfare social workers were social workers who work for the department of children and family services for at least 6 months. The data were transcribed verbatim from an audio recording. Codes were assigned to the data and reliability checks were conducted. The themes that emerged from analysis of the data included workload, lack of influence on the job, lack of rewards on the job, negative social interaction, and value differences in individuals and their jobs. The findings of this study might contribute to positive social change by enhancing awareness regarding burnout in child welfare social workers and providing an opportunity for child welfare social workers and child welfare agencies to learn how to address causes of burnout in child welfare social workers in the southeastern United States.

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