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Role of Adaptation in Advocate Burnout: A Case of Good Soldiering

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2011 Pages: 89-110
Michelle Bemiller; L. Susan Williams
Date Published
January 2011
22 pages
This study addresses the relationship between shelter advocacy work and burnout. It explores the role of job demands, resources, work environment, and motivation/adaptations factors as they relate to burnout among domestic violence and sexual assault advocates.
Domestic violence and sexual assault advocates, unlike other social service workers, experience only moderate burnout. The present study extends burnout research, exploring simultaneous effects of job demands and adaptation factors as they relate to burnout in the advocacy population. The authors identify the good soldiering phenomenon in which advocates adapt to work that is worthwhile, but risky, demanding, and resource poor. Good soldiering is related to, but distinct from, a "calling" because it links to the position, not simply intrinsic motivation. The authors find that though job demands significantly increase burnout, advocates who identify with good soldiering experience significantly lower levels of burnout. (Published Abstract) Tables, appendix, notes, and references