Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Stress, Burnout, and Intention to Terminate among Umpires

Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Stress, Burnout, and Intention to Terminate among Umpires

Article excerpt

Investigators have studied stress and burnout, and the relationship between these experiences, for a number of occupations, including teachers (Kyriacou, 1987), counselors (Jupp & Shaul, 1991), child care workers (Boyd & Pasley, 1989), nurses (Mallett, Price, Jurs, & Slenker, 1991), and police officers (Burke & Descza, 1986). Research has indicated that higher frequency and/or higher intensity stressors are related to higher levels of burnout (Maslach, 1982). Burnout, in turn, often has negative consequences. These consequences can include physical and psychological symptoms (Kahill, 1988) and behavioral consequences, such as termination of employment (Jackson, Schwab, & Schuler, 1986).

In recent years, investigators have also begun to study stress and burnout among sport officials. Taylor and Daniel (1988) examined the validity of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI, Maslach & Jackson, 1981) for use with soccer officials. These authors altered the wording of items to make them appropriate for the sport context, and they concluded that the altered instrument showed promise for work with sport officials. In a related effort, Taylor and Daniel (1987) examined the sources of stress among soccer officials. They analyzed the responses of 215 officials to the Soccer Officials Stress Survey and concluded that six factors (Interpersonal Conflict, Fear of Physical Harm, Time Pressures, Peer Conflicts, Role-Culture Conflict, and Fear of Failure) were sources of stress for these officials.

Two studies have expanded upon the work of Taylor and Daniel (1987). Goldsmith and Williams (1992) examined the sources of stress among a sample of volleyball and football officials. These officials reported three of the original six factors reported by Taylor and Daniel (Fear of Failure, Fear of Physical Harm, and Time Pressure). However, because the sample was so small, and because the results were based upon the mixed data of officials from two very different sports, the reliability of the factors reported by Goldsmith and Williams (1992) is questionable. Rainey (1995) examined the sources of stress among baseball and softball umpires using a modified Ontario Soccer Officials Survey (OSOS). Four correlated sources of stress factors (Fear of Failure, Fear of Physical Harm, Time Pressure, and Interpersonal Conflict) emerged from the responses of the umpires. They were very similar to four factors reported for soccer officials by Taylor and Daniel (1987).

Taylor, Daniel, Leith, and Burke (1990) have extended the research on stress among officials by examining the consequences of that stress. They used path analytic techniques to examine the role of burnout as a mediator between the stress factors and intentions to quit officiating. Soccer officials responded to the OSOS, which included a modified MBI, a measure of sources of stress, and a measure of intention to quit officiating. Consistent with the earlier research on occupational burnout, these authors found a significant positive correlation between total stress factor scores and total burnout scores. Further, cross-sectional path analysis indicated that age, Fear of Failure, Interpersonal Conflict, and Role-Culture Conflict were significant predictors of total burnout and that age and burnout predicted intention to terminate. Thus, burnout mediated the effects of the three stress factors on intention to quit and partially mediated the effects of age.

The purpose of the present study was to extend the research of Taylor et al. (1990) by examining the relationships among age, sources of stress, burnout, and intentions to quit for baseball and softball umpires. Four sources of stress factors (Fear of Failure, Fear of Physical Harm, Time Pressure, and Interpersonal Conflict) had already been identified among these officials (Rainey, 1995). Based upon the results of Taylor et al., the hypotheses of this study were that: (a) age, Fear of Failure, and Interpersonal Conflict would be significant predictors of burnout, (b) Fear of Physical Harm and Time Pressure would not be significant predictors of burnout, and (c) age and burnout would be significant predictors of intention to quit umpiring. …

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