Job Stress and Burnout: The Mediational Effect of Spiritual Well-Being and Hardiness among Nurses

By Marsh, Verdell; Beard, Margaret T. et al. | Journal of Theory Construction and Testing, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Job Stress and Burnout: The Mediational Effect of Spiritual Well-Being and Hardiness among Nurses


Marsh, Verdell, Beard, Margaret T., Adams, Betty N., Journal of Theory Construction and Testing


Abstract: The purpose of this study was to confirm the mediational effect of spiritual well-being and hardiness on job stress and burnout among nurses. A theoretical model based on Selyes stress theory and Neuman Systems Model was empirically tested with the structural equation modeling (SEM) approach to determine the fit between the theorized model and the data (Schumacker eS Lomax, 1996). A non randomized sample of 208 registered nurses completed the Stress Diagnostic Survey, the JAREL Spiritual Well-Being Scale, the Personal Views Survey, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Data were analyzed using EQS 5.1 for Windows Statistical Software Package and consisted of an assessment of the shape of the sample distribution of the residual and of the goodness off fzt indices, of the iterative summary, and of the parameter estimates. The model was found to fit the observed data and the flowing five hypothesized relationships were supported: (a) job stress has a direct positive effect (parameter coefficient = .55) on burnout among nurses, (b) spiritual well-being has a direct negative effect (parameter coefficient = -. 36) on burnout among nurses (c) spiritual well-being operating through hardiness has an indirect negative effect (parameter coefficient -. II) on burnout. The fit indices for the model were as follows: BentlerBonett Normed Fit Index = .91, Bentler-Bonett Non-Normed Fit Index = .92, Robust Comparative Fit Index= .95. Based on these findings, the following conclusions were made:

1. Job stress has a moderate direct positive effect on burnout among nurses.

2. Spiritual well-being has a moderate direct effect on burnout among nurses.

3. Spiritual well-being has a moderate direct effect on hardiness.

4. Hardiness has a small direct negative effect on burnout.

5. Spiritual well-being operates indirectly through hardiness to influence burnout among nurses.

A generalization is that spiritual well-being should be considered as a factor in reducing burnout and job stress.

Key words: job stress, burnout, spiritual well-being, hardiness

Nurses are at a higher risk of experiencing burnout than some of the other helping professionals because of the relationship of burnout to job stress in the workplace (Duquette, Kerouac, Sandhu, & Beaudet, 1994; Kilpatrick, 1989; Freudenberger, 1974; Himali 1995; Maslach &Jackson, 1986; Miller, Ellis, Zook, & Lyles, 1990; Wright, Blache, Ralph, & Luterman, 1993). Investigations have described social support and hardiness as factors which serve as mediators for job stress and burnout (Duquette et al.,1994). Social support, when available to the nurse, is an external resource, whereas hardiness is an internal or inner resource that the nurse can use in mediating or buffering the effect of job stress.

For almost a century, scientists have studied the phenomenon of stress in relation to humans' physiological and psychological functioning. Yet, today much of the impact of stress on the lives of individuals has not been explained, particularly in the work environment. Job stress contributes to health related problems among workers and has been implicated in the etiology of pathological dysfunctions, such as psychosomatic complaints (Creed, 1993; Schaefer & Moos, 1996), and coronary heart disease (Goldstein, 1995).

Job stress has been shown to result in burnout among some individuals (Jaffe, 1995; Jayaratne & Chess, 1986), while others faced with high levels of job stress do not experience burnout (Pines & Aronson; 1988, Rabinowitz, Kushnir, & Ribak, 1996). Research supports the view that burnout in nurses as a result of job stress has been reduced by hardiness, a psychological variable (Duquette et al., 1994). Yet, hardiness alone has not accounted for a large percentage of the variance in burnout in nurses (Lawler & Schmied, 1992). What other factors might help to explain why job stress does not necessarily lead to burnout? …

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