Jailed resources: conservation of resources theory as applied to burnout among prison guards


  • Jean-Pierre Neveu

    Corresponding author
    1. Lirhe/CNRS, Université Montesquieu, Bordeaux, France
    • Laboratoire de Recherches sur les Ressources Humaines et l'Emploi, Université des Sciences Sociales, place Anatole France, 31042 Toulouse cedex, France.
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This study evaluates a salutogenic perspective of the burnout process. Building upon Hobfoll's (1989) Conservation of Resources theory, it proposes a simultaneous test of three hypothesized resources-based models. These competing models test the structure of burnout in relation to depleted resources (e.g., lack of skill utilization, of participation, of co-worker support, and of professional worth) and negative correlates (e.g., absenteeism and depression). SEM results provide equally good support for two resource-based models, although each of them proceeds from two different approaches (Leiter vs. Golembiewski). Of all burnout components, personal accomplishment is found to be least related to resources depletion, while emotional exhaustion is the most related to absenteeism and depression. Results are analyzed in light of existing literature and of the specific nature of the sample, a large population of French correctional officers (n = 707). Implications for burnout theory and human resource management are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.