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From workaholism to burnout: psychological capital as a mediator

Fiona Moyer (Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)
Shahnaz Aziz (Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)
Karl Wuensch (Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships among workaholism, psychological capital (PsyCap), and burnout, as well as investigate the potential mediating effect of PsyCap on the relationship between workaholism and burnout.

Design/methodology/approach

Data on workaholism, PsyCap, and burnout were collected, through administration of an online survey, from 400 faculty and staff at a large Southeastern university.

Findings

Workaholism is negatively related to PsyCap and is positively related to burnout, while PsyCap is negatively correlated with burnout. Moreover, while tested in a mediation model, PsyCap appeared as a significant mediating variable for all three dimensions of burnout (i.e. emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment).

Research limitations/implications

Future researchers may benefit from examining a sample outside an educational institution. Also, both workaholism and burnout may be better suited for studies utilizing longitudinal designs. That said, the data reveal information about the process whereby tendencies indicative of heavy work investment lead to burnout within employees. That is, workaholism leads to lower PsyCap, which then results in burnout.

Practical implications

The results suggest that employers may benefit from considering the negative effects of heavy work investment and maintaining a culture that discourages such behavior. It might also be beneficial for employers to ensure that employees have a heightened PsyCap and, therefore, are safeguarded against burnout.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine the influence that employee PsyCap has on the development of workaholism and burnout by examining its role as a mediator.

Keywords

Citation

Moyer, F., Aziz, S. and Wuensch, K. (2017), "From workaholism to burnout: psychological capital as a mediator", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 213-227. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-10-2016-0074

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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