Family Support Has a Direct Effect on Job Burnout

Job-related stress, also known as burnout, is an increasing problem in society today. Unemployment rates are still high, and people who are employed are often taxed with more than their share of responsibility. Those who are employed may find it necessary to work longer and harder just to maintain and safeguard their employment. All of these behaviors can lead to work stress and job burnout.

When an employee develops significant work-related stress, it can impact their health and well-being. Aside from absenteeism and lost wages, physical problems can ensue and impair quality of life and disrupt family relationships. Understanding the factors that influence work stress and what mechanisms contribute to burnout are important avenues of research. Victoria Blom of the Division of Insurance Medicine and the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden wanted to explore this topic.

Blom conducted a study that looked specifically at how family support affected burnout in relation to control and job demands. Using a sample of over 14,500 individual twins, Blom assessed both identical and fraternal twins to determine the unique effects of these factors. She found that for both men and women, high levels of family support directly predicted lower levels of job burnout.

This finding supports social support theories which show close relational support to be a protective factor for issues such as stress and depression. This protective influence was strongest among the female participants, which also supports social support theories. However, Blom did find an association between family support and control and burnout for men.

When Blom examined how family support affected job demands with relation to burnout, she found no association. Rather, high job demands were closely related to burnout regardless of the level of family support. This finding suggests that the negative effects of high job demands are not minimized by environmental conditions, but may be influenced instead by individual factors, such as expertise, coping styles, and job skills. Blom added, “These results offer increased understanding of the mechanisms involved in the associations between work stress and burnout.”

Blom, V., Bodin, L., Bergström, G., Hallsten, L., Svedberg, P. (2013). The importance of genetic and shared environmental factors for the associations between job demands, control, support and burnout. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75387. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075387

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  • Amos w

    November 4th, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    you better believe that I have worked my fair share of jobs where the stress levels were really high and the rewards were really low. but what always seemed to get me through those rough ones was knowing that I had a loving and caring family to go home to every evening. it kind of made the days more bearable knowing that i was doing something for the good of the family and that this was about more than just me, this was about supporting a wife and children who depended on me. it wasn’t always ideal but it did pay the bills and would help us all get through until something better would come along.

  • lazydaisy

    November 5th, 2013 at 4:50 AM

    Sadly there are far more families who won’t support the stressed out workers than those who do.
    I get it that when you have stress from work there are times when this filters down to the home life too and brings that stress home with you and that’s hard on everyone.
    But if the family cares and supports you then this makes it easier to handle. I am not saying that this is ideal but it does help.

  • ADAM

    November 6th, 2013 at 4:51 AM

    My wife always tries to support me no matter what is going on at my job, but I guess I have this way of blocking her out and not letting her in, so the stress level is still there.

    She sees it as I am not wanting to share with her what is going on in my professional life, but i see it more as I am trying to shield her from all of the crap that I have to deal with on a daily basis.

    If I let her in to that then that is an even longer time that I have to dwell on it, and honestly, by the time I come home at night I just want to forget about all of that.

  • Kristy

    November 8th, 2013 at 4:53 AM

    I can see how this would be something that could help women more than men. No offense but I think that women are far more likley to take advice from other people and to be open to receiving support from others than men in general are. If men could find a way to show their true feelings and open up a little more than what the men in my life do I think that they would also find a lot more help from family support than what they may have a tendency to allow.

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