ERIC Number: ED226285
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug-26
Reference Count: 0
Burnout: Two Ways of Defining It and Their Implications.
How we go about labeling and conceptualizing the social problem of burnout reveals much about the underlying values and assumptions of our culture. An examination of the history of social science and related, applied fields during the last 150 years, reveals two different paradigms, i.e., ways of viewing the world based on untested assumptions and biases, which have been used to guide research and practice: the moral-religious and the scientific-technical. When burnout is viewed from the perspective of the first it is more likely to be regarded as the loss of moral commitment rather than a maladaptive reaction to stress. This distinction is meaningful for research and action because a social commitment conception leads us to anlayze ways in which social systems generate and maintain commitment; the dominance of the scientific technical paradigm leads us to think how social systems create stress. The problem underlying reliance on the scientific-technical paradigm stems from the fact that this mode of thinking actually contributes to burnout by weakening the ability to form strong commitment to any external frame of reference and strengthening the culture of professionalism which in turn weakens the bonds between caregivers and the settings in which they work. Burnout is the result of this diluted sense of community. These emphases inherent in the scientific-technical paradigm have undermined the social supports and commitment mechanisms that could protect caregivers in the human services from stress and burnout. (PAS)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Commitment; Professionalism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (90th, Washington, DC, August 23-27, 1982). For related document, see CG 016 479.