Research Suggests Mindfulness and Resilience Predict Lower Burnout

Summary of:

Tu, Julie, “Mindfulness and resilience as predictors of burnout” (2019). Master’s Theses. 5047.

Background & Theory:

Burnout has been defined as an intense reaction to emotional and psychological work-related stress. Past research has found that people who have high work overload, role ambiguity, and role conflict are more likely to experience burnout than those with less conflicting work demands and those given enough information to satisfactorily perform their job. The consequences of burnout can be severe, including poor job performance and health consequences. This alone demonstrates the need for tactics that help to predict and mitigate burnout.

Studies have suggested that mindfulness and resilience are helpful in mitigating burnout, but not much research has been done on the effectiveness of mindfulness and resilience as predictors of burnout, that is until this study.

Question(s):

Research was completed to answer the following question:

  1. Can mindfulness and resilience level be reliable predictors of burnout levels?
  2. Is mindfulness or resilience a better predictor of burnout?

Methods:

An online survey resulted in acquiring the data of 139 respondents.

Mindfulness was measured using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale-Short, which includes four negatively worded items mirrored with four positively worded items that use a Likert scale for response measuring. The responses were averaged to create a composite score, meaning that a higher score equated to higher levels of mindfulness.

Resilience was measured using the six-item Brief Resilience Scale which uses a Likert scale to respond to statements about resilience.

Burnout was measured using the 19-item Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, which consisted of three scales reflecting the domains of burnout: personal, work-related, and client-related.

Various Likert scales were used to collect responses to statements within these three domains. On all scales used in this study, Cronbach’s alpha was used to ensure reliability. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 25.

Results:

The results of this study indicate that both mindfulness and resilience levels predict burnout levels, in that burnout levels are negatively correlated with mindfulness and resilience. Furthermore, the results showed that greater mindfulness predicted lower burnout better than did greater resilience. The reasoning behind this could be that if mindfulness calms the mind by allowing space for non-judgment and non-rumination in thoughts, it may lead to decreased emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue, which are causes of burnout.

Additionally, it was found that mindfulness, but not resilience, was a better predictor of lower personal, work-related, and overall burnout. However, resilience was a more substantial predictor of lower client-related burnout.

What We Can Learn:

Looking over this study, we can take away this key insight:

  • The trait and practice of mindfulness and resilience is a considerable pursuit that can both predict and mitigate burnout personally and professionally. Being involved in steady practices that contribute to the construction of mindfulness and resilience can be helpful for recognizing when burnout may occur and when to engage in self-care for burnout prevention.

Final Takeaways

For Consultants: High-conflict work environments have been shown to be a place where burnout is more prevalent than in low-conflict environments. Organizations with high turnover rates due to employee burnout may find a lot of help in the implementation of mindfulness and resilience training.

For Everyone: Practicing mindfulness and developing resilience is something everyone can do to increase health and well-being. Not only this, but these practices can help predict when personal burnout may occur, allowing time for the implementation of self-care practices to mitigate burnout.

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