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Novel Research in Sciences

Identifying Risk and Protective Factors of Burnout in the Field of Applied Behavior Analysis

Submission: July 3, 2023;Published: August 01, 2023


According to numerous studies conducted by Maslach and Leiter, burnout is a multidimensional phenomenon characterized by varying degrees of emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment, and depersonalization. While abundant literature has focused on burnout for teachers, nurses, and medical doctors, very few to date have focused on identification of risk and protective factors for the development of burnout in professionals and paraprofessionals working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The participants were 21 females and 7 males between the ages of 21 years old and 46 years old with a mean age of 32.36 years old who completed research packets containing the Maslach Burnout Inventory - Health Services Survey (MBI-HSS), Personality Assessment Screener (PAS), Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS), demographic questionnaire, and consent form. The PAS scale of negative affect was positively correlated with both dimensions of depersonalization and exhaustion. Other PAS scales of health problems and alienation were positively correlated with exhaustion and negatively correlated with personal accomplishment. Thoughts of leaving one’s job was found to be negatively correlated with pay satisfaction, supervision satisfaction, years of employment, and total job satisfaction. Participants who played sports showed lower ratings on the Exhaustion dimension. The number of hours participants worked, and job position were both positively correlated with the depersonalization and exhaustion dimensions of the MBI-HSS. The findings suggest that risk for burnout and attrition can be minimized by helpful employment practices (e.g., competitive payrates, supervisory support, fringe benefits, balanced caseload, promotion of healthy lifestyle). Clinical implications of this study include understanding predictors of burnout to reduce risk, increase staff retention, and improve quality of care for clients.

Keywords:Burnout; Applied behavior analysis; Job satisfaction; Health problems; Emotional exhaustion; Personal accomplishment; Depersonalization

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