The risk for professional burnout has become commonly recognized and in the past several years has been a focus of research efforts. Nursing is one of the professions generating a high level of stress which results in burnout.

The purpose of this study was to test the effects of an intervention program for nurses who felt they were experiencing burnout. Nursing burnout was defined as a chronic condition of stress among nurses, which leads to a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lack of personal accomplishment. The design used was a true experiment. Fifty-two nurses served as voluntary participants who were randomly assigned to control (25) and experimental (27) groups. Statistical analysis verified the equivalence of both groups prior to the intervention. Nurses who were in the experimental group received an eight-session group intervention over a period of eight weeks. The focus of this program was based on the theoretical principles of the self-care model. It emphasized the concept of personal responsibility for health and well-being. Nurses in the control group participated in a one-time class, the usual in-service type of intervention in hospital nursing service. This meeting was a two-hour lecture on the topic "Strategies to cope and prevent nursing burnout".

The Maslach Burnout Inventory was used to measure burnout among the nurses at three points in time: (a) week 1 of the study, (b) week 8, and (c) week 20. Results of the analysis strongly suggested that the eight-session group process approach was a more effective intervention strategy for nursing burnout than the one-time class approach. All burnout frequency and intensity variables changed in the desired direction at a significant level (p<.0005). Nurses who participated in the eight-session program felt less emotionally exhausted and less depersonalized immediately following the program and at the 20-week follow-up. This group increased their feelings of personal accomplishment after participating in the program. Nurses in the control group felt more depersonalized eight weeks following the short class, but returned to their initial scores by the 20-week posttest. Their emotional exhaustion remained high at all three time periods. Feelings of personal accomplishment decreased eight weeks after the class and remained decreased at the 20-week follow-up. These findings were congruent with what the literature points out about the effects of a group process approach.

In addition to the impact of the intervention, a number of variables thought to correlate with burnout were studied: (a) having a second job, (b) children living at home, (c) religiousness, (d) years worked as a nurse, and (e) age. Having children, being religious, being experienced as a nurse, and being older were also associated with less depersonalization. Being experienced as a nurse and being older were also associated with less emotional exhaustion.

Suggestions drawn from this research were formula into significance for three groups: (a) health education (b) nursing, and (c) hospital administration. Recommendations for further research were also made.


School of Health

First Advisor

Jerry Lee

Second Advisor

Joyce Hopp

Third Advisor

Mary Moline

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Stress, Psychological -- prevention & control; Nurses -- psychology



Page Count

xi; 159

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives