Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Debora Rice


CPS (child protective services) social workers are critical to the social service community. Due to the responsibilities of this role, CPS social workers encounter multiple stressors and high demands in the workplace. Burnout is prominent in the social service profession, specifically among CPS social workers. This qualitative action research study was conducted to explore CPS social workers’ experiences of burnout and organizational issues related to those burnout experiences. Maslach’s multidimensional theory on burnout was the theoretical framework. Data collection involved individual interviews facilitated online. The sample consisted of 8 experienced CPS social workers from the Georgia Department of Human Services. Using thematic analysis, 4 themes were identified: (a) lack of positive social interaction, (b) physical and mental exhaustion from field work, (c) impact of stress on work demands, and (d) lack of incentives on the job. The findings from this study can be used by CPS social workers and other professionals in the social service field to understand the organizational factors related to burnout. This understanding could prompt positive social change through leadership and policy adjustments designed to support the needs of CPS social workers related to burnout.

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