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Mental health, burnout and job satisfaction among mental health social workers in England and Wales

  • Sherrill Evans (a1), Peter Huxley (a1), Claire Gately (a2), Martin Webber (a2), Alex Mears (a2), Sarah Pajak (a2), Jibby Medina (a3), Tim Kendall (a3) and Cornelius Katona (a3)...
Abstract
Background

Previous research suggests that social workers experience high levels of stress and burnout but most remain committed to their work.

Aims

To examine the prevalence of stress and burnout, and job satisfaction among mental health social workers (MHSWs) and the factors responsible for this.

Method

A postal survey incorporating the General Health Questionnaire, Maslach Burnout Inventory, Karasek Job Content Questionnaire and a job satisfaction measure was sent to 610 MHSWs in England and Wales.

Results

Eligible respondents (n=237) reported high levels of stress and emotional exhaustion and low levels of job satisfaction; 111 (47%) showed significant symptomatology and distress, which is twice the level reported by similar surveys of psychiatrists. Feeling undervalued at work, excessive job demands, limited latitude in decision-making, and unhappiness about the place of MHSWs in modern services contributed to the poor job satisfaction and most aspects of burnout. Those who had approved social worker status had greater dissatisfaction.

Conclusions

Stress may exacerbate recruitment and retention problems. Employers must recognise the demands placed upon MHSWs and value their contribution to mental health services.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Sherrill Evans, Box 032, Social Work and Social Care Section, Health Services Research Department, David Goldberg Centre, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK. E-mail: S.Evans@iop.kcl.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgement.

Footnotes
References
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  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
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Mental health, burnout and job satisfaction among mental health social workers in England and Wales

  • Sherrill Evans (a1), Peter Huxley (a1), Claire Gately (a2), Martin Webber (a2), Alex Mears (a2), Sarah Pajak (a2), Jibby Medina (a3), Tim Kendall (a3) and Cornelius Katona (a3)...
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