Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Honours

School

School of Arts & Humanities

First Advisor

Associate Professor Melissa Davis

Field of Research Code

1701

Abstract

This study examined whether professional self-care practices (PSCP) had a moderating effect on the relationship between emotional work (EW) performed and burnout symptoms experienced among Australian academics teaching psychology. Seventy-seven Australian psychology academics ranging from 27 to 64 years, with an average of 13.34 years of academic experience, and representing the full range of academic levels from Associate Lecturer to Professor, and predominantly females, participated in the study. Participants completed an online survey comprising three questionnaires: the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), Intensive Emotion Work Inventory (IEW) and Professional Self-Care Scale (PSCS), addressing levels of PSCP, EW performed and frequency and intensity of experiencing burnout symptoms, respectively. A positive association was found between EW and burnout symptoms while PSCP was found to be negatively correlated with burnout symptoms. Two separate Hierarchical Multiple Regression (HMR) were performed investigating the relationship between PSCP, EW and the two dimensions of burnout, burnout frequency and burnout intensity, respectively. The predictor variables were entered in the first step of each analysis and the product of PSCP and EW scores were entered into the second step of each analysis to test the moderating effect. PSCP and EW together predicted 39.6 percent of variance in burnout frequency and 15.8 percent variance in burnout intensity scores. For both analyses, the interaction between PSCP and EW predicted a small independent percentage of variance (39.6% for burnout frequency and 15.8% for burnout intensity), providing evidence of the moderator effect. These findings suggest that PSCP acts as a protective barrier against the effects of emotional work performed and levels of burnout symptoms experienced among Australian psychology academics. Future recommendations include further study investigating whether the emotional work performed by psychology academics is similar across all the roles of the academic’s professional profile and whether other demands or resources increase or reduce occupational burnout among psychology academics.

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