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Perceived Stress and Burnout: The Mediating Role of Self-Care and Job Satisfaction as 
Preventive Factors in Helping Professions 
Monika HRICOVA Contact / Kontakt / Kapcsolat, Jana NEZKUSILOVA & Beata RACZOVA
EJMH Vol 15 Issue 1 (2020) 3-22; https://doi.org/10.5708/EJMH.15.2020.1.1
Received: 1 January 2019; accepted: 1 March 2020; online date: 15 June 2020
Section: Research Papers
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Abstract

Background: Stress and burnout are among the common causes of absenteeism and fluctu –
ation of staff in European workplaces. Therefore, the demand for understanding the predictors
of burnout in high risk professions has been growing. The aim of this study is to explore the
link between perceived stress and the three dimensions of burnout (emotional exhaustion,
depersonalization, and personal accomplishment) while considering the potential mediating
role of self-care and job satisfaction that may prevent the transformation of stress into burnout.
Methods: A randomly selected group of Slovak social service professionals (N = 689; 618
women) from institutions in 8 districts in Slovakia described their levels of perceived stress,
burnout, performed self-care and job satisfaction in self-reported questionnaires.
Results: The relationship between stress and emotional exhaustion is solely mediated by certain
aspects of job satisfaction: salary, nature of work, and operating procedures. The relationship
between stress and depersonalization is mediated by the nature of work, psychological
self-care, and professional self-care. However, professional self-care does not prevent but
rather facilitates the development of depersonalization in times of high perceived stress. The
relationship between stress and personal accomplishment is mediated by psychological and
professional self-care as well as by three factors of job satisfaction: co-workers, nature of
work and job benefits. When stress increases, satisfaction with co-workers and nature of work
prevent the decrease of personal accomplishment. However, job benefits, with increasing
stress, may be related to a decrease in personal accomplishment at work.
Conclusion: Satisfaction with salary, nature of work, operating procedures and co-workers
as well as psychological self-care may prevent the further development of burnout in times
of high stress. Yet, professional self-care and job benefits may, in times of increased stress,
potentially lead towards specific aspects of burnout (depersonalization and reduction of personal
accomplishment).

Keywords

stress, burnout, job satisfaction, self-care, helping profession, social service, mental
health

Corresponding author

Dr. Monika HRICOVA
Department of Psychology,
Pavol Jozef Šafarik University in Košice
Moyzesova 9, SK-040 59 Košice, Slovak Republic
monika.hricova@upjs.sk

Co-authors

Dr. Jana NEZKUSILOVA: Pavol Jozef Šafarik University in Košiced; Slovak Republic

Dr. Beata RACZOVA: Pavol Jozef Šafarik University in Košice; Slovak Republic