Disentangling the relationships between job burnout and perceived health in a military sample



The reciprocal and longitudinal effects of job burnout and perceived health were examined in a sample of Air Force personnel (N = 1,009) deployed to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and supporting locations. We estimated a structural equation model that described the relationships between the job burnout and perceived health and their effects on each other over time. The data fit the model exceedingly well as demonstrated by the goodness of fit measures (normed fit index, non-normed fit index, comparative fit index = 0.97, 0.99, 0.99, respectively, and root mean square error of approximation = 0.01). As hypothesized, burnout and perceived health are negatively associated with each other (r = −0.33). Over a one-year follow-up period, perceived health predicted a decrease in job burnout (β = −0.20) and job burnout predicted a decrease in perceived health (β = −0.10). The predicted effect of perceived health on job burnout was shown to be significantly larger than the effect of burnout on health. This latter finding is interpreted to result from the conceptualization and measurement of job burnout as limited to a single life domain and also to the possibility that job burnout fluctuates with changing working conditions over time more than perceived health. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.