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Aggressive behaviour and burnout among staff of homes for the elderly


  • Will Evers, MA, MSc.

  • Welko Tomic, MSc, PhD.

  • André Brouwers, MSc, PhD.

Correspondence: Welko Tomic Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University, PO Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands Email:


This study examines relationships between experienced aggressive behaviour and burnout of staff caring for residents living in homes for the elderly (n = 551). Burnout was conceptualized as a three-dimensional syndrome consisting of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment. From the results of the hierarchical regression analyses it appeared that physical and psychological aggression and the number of weekly working hours had a significant relationship with emotional exhaustion of staff. Psychological aggression was found to have a significant relationship with depersonalization. Neither sex nor age had a relationship with any of the burnout dimensions. Implications for research and suggestions for work and training of staff caring for the elderly are discussed.