Predictors of burnout in professional parachurch workers
Jones, Eugene G.
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The purpose of this study was to determine predictors of burnout in professional parachurch workers. Parachurch refers to organizations that minister alongside the denominational churches and are not under the authority or control of any local church or denomination. Like the Salvation Army, parachurch organizations began in response to an observed need that was not met by denominational churches. This study considered three predictor variables: (a) the responsibility for raising and maintaining financial support for personal income and ministry, (b) role ambiguity of the job, and (c) the feeling of loneliness on the job. Burnout, the criterion variable in this study, was measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory-HSS, 3rd ed. (MBI). The sample consisted of 216 employees of the Navigators, a 70-year-old parachurch organization, chosen randomly from a list of 561 experimentally accessible Navigator workers who had been employed a minimum of five years. Participants completed a questionnaire that contained selected demographics; the Maslach Burnout Inventory; questions addressing the pressure of raising and maintaining financial support; the Role Ambiguity Scale; and the UCLA Loneliness Scale. The questionnaire took approximately 30 minutes to complete. Three multiple regression analyses were performed to examine the relationships between the criterion variable of burnout and its subscales of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment and the predictor variables and demographics. Loneliness was the significant predictor of two of the three subscales of burnout: emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, and role ambiguity was the significant predictor of reduced personal accomplishment, p < .001. Age was negatively correlated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, p < .001, indicating that the younger workers were more susceptible to burnout than older workers. The predictor variable of raising support was significant, p < .001, in predicting emotional exhaustion, especially when added to loneliness. The variable of loneliness when added to role ambiguity significantly increased the prediction of reduced personal accomplishment as a predictor variable.