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Home > Arhiva > 2013 > Numar: 3 > Stress and Burnout Among Social Workers

 Stress and Burnout Among Social Workers

  • Cristiana Marc (University of Oradea, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, 5 University Street, 0259/408439, E-mail:
  • Claudia Oşvat (University of Oradea, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, Department of Sociology and Social Work, 5 University Street, 0259/408766, E-mail:

This paper presents the results of a qualitative study that illustrates how social workers experience stress and burnout at the workplace. The participants in this study were 18 social workers employed in state institutions and NGOs in Oradea. The results show that, according to respondents, the main factors that explain burnout are: heavy caseloads, time constraints, the categories of clients with whom they work, limitations of social work interventions, lack of appreciation and reward for their work, lack of support from supervisors and colleagues, the lack of involvement in family life. The symptoms most commonly present in the case of social workers who experience burnout were: emotional and physical exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, sleep disorders, impatience, giving up leisure activities, diminished motivation and job satisfaction. In order to prevent burnout, the solutions given by participants in the study aimed in particular at reducing workload, better time management, team cohesion support, an adequate reward for one's work, good organizational communication, supervision, opportunities for professional development. The paper concludes with a discussion of the practical implications of the results, presenting the study limitations and directions for future research.

Keywords: occupational stress, burnout, social workers, coping, supervision