Abstract: Areas of Worklife and Medical Social Worker's Burnout in South Korea (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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751P Areas of Worklife and Medical Social Worker's Burnout in South Korea

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Min Ah Kim, PhD, Associate Professor, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Jaehee Yi, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Utah, UT
Min-Kyoung Rhee, Instructional Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Yichi Zhang, MA, Doctoral Student, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Background and Purpose: Medical social workers are at high risk of burnout because they work with patients and families facing life-threatening illness or traumatic events on a daily basis. Although burnout is specific to the work context and medical social workers have unique work tasks and organizational environment, there is a dearth of research that examined burnout among medical social workers with a focus on the comprehensive dimensions of their organizational and work context in South Korea. Based on the areas of worklife model of burnout, this study investigated the prevalence of burnout among medical workers in South Korea and identified key areas of worklife associated with three dimensions of burnout.

Methods: Ninety-seven medical social workers currently providing direct services in hospitals throughout South Korea completed questionnaires. Burnout was assessed by the Korean version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey, which consists of three subscales: emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP), and personal accomplishment (PA). Each subscale was categorized into three levels (high, moderate, and low). Work environment was assessed by the Areas of Worklife Survey (AWS), which consists of six subscales: workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and values. Descriptive analyses and analysis of variance were conducted to examine the statistical differences in the six subscales by the three dimensions of burnout (EE, DP, and PA). Post hoc differences were analyzed using Bonferroni statistics for comparisons with a significance level of p < .05.

Results: Participants reported moderate levels of EE (M = 24.61, SD = 10.65) and PA (M = 37.37, SD = 5.62) and low levels of DP (M = 6.22, SD = 4.24). All six areas of worklife differed significantly by level of EE; three areas of worklife (workload, reward, community) were significantly associated with PA; and none was associated with DP. Participants with high levels of EE reported significantly higher levels of workload compared to those with moderate and low levels of EE (F = 15.910, p < .001). Participants in the low EE category reported significantly higher control (F = 5.235, p < .01), reward (F = 5.058, p < .01), community (F = 6.250, p < .01), fairness (F = 6.185, p < .01), and values (F = 3.852, p < .05) than those in the high EE category. Participants in the low PA category reported a more manageable workload (F = 3.344, p < .05) than those in the moderate category. Participants in the high PA category reported significantly higher reward (F = 4.999, p < .01) and community (F = 4.383, p < .05) than those in the moderate category.

Conclusion and Implications: Findings of this study confirm different associations between burnout and key areas of work environments, helping professionals better understand the organizational context of burnout among medical social workers. This study indicates healt care professionals providing interventions should enhance these areas of worklife, which can help medical social workers reduce their burnout.