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Keywords:

  • burnout;
  • direct support worker;
  • intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  • prosocial motivation;
  • stress

Aim

This study explores whether the desire to engage in work that is beneficial to others moderates the effects of stress on burnout.

Method

Based on a survey of 1570 direct support professionals in Ontario, this study conducted linear regression analyses and tested for the interaction effects of prosocial motivation on occupational stress and burnout.

Results

Prosocial motivation significantly moderated the association of emotional exhaustion (EE) and role boundary stress with depersonalization (DP). Prosocial motivation also moderated the effects of role ambiguity stress with a direct support worker's sense of personal accomplishment. In contrast, prosocial motivation magnified feelings of EE when interacted with a sense of personal accomplishment.

Conclusions

Prosocial motivation plays an important role in explaining the relatively low levels of DP in the sector. The study advances our understanding of the key components of burnout among direct support workers.