Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Yvonne Chase


Burnout in case managers is a social problem affecting the field of social work. This research project explored the causes and effects of burnout on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work practice. The research study focused on how social work case workers coped with stress in urban northeastern Ohio, and how case work managers addressed burnout. The Maslach multidimensional theory on burnout was applied to gain an understanding of the causes and effects of social work case manager burnout. The qualitative research study involved interviewing 8 Ohio social work case managers working in community mental health who scored moderate burnout on the Maslach Burnout Inventory–Human Service Survey in either emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, or personal accomplishment. The study involved 11 social worker case manager participants, 8 of which who scored with at least a moderate risk of burnout and participated in the interview process. Study findings identified systemic issues on the macro level of practice, including limited resources that put stress on organizations to produce. Microlevel forces unique to this study include transportation stress, bed bugs, and working with violent offenders, which created added stress for social work case managers. The implications of this study for positive change include supporting case managers in understanding that effective supervision and requiring continuing education units on burnout could assist in reducing social work case manager burnout and lead to positive social change.