Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2005


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

William J. Casile

Committee Member

David Delmonico

Committee Member

Emma C. Mosley


areas of worklife, burnout, contextual work factors, Maslach Burnout Inventory, mental health, rural


Burnout is a job-related hazard for human service employees including rural community mental health counselors. Historically, burnout was perceived more as a problem with an individual than a problem with an organization. Contemporary burnout research has recommended expanding the theoretical framework of burnout to include organizational sources of burnout. Consequently, burnout is described as an individual syndrome, consisting of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced sense of personal accomplishment, mediated within the work context. The purpose of this survey research was to describe the relationship between burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, personal accomplishment), as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS), and contextual work factors (workload, control, reward, community, fairness, values), as measured by the Areas of Worklife Survey (AWS) for rural community mental health counselors. Specifically, this research measured the degree of burnout and the relationship of burnout to contextual work factors for rural community mental health counselors at a rural mental health center located in a medically underserved area (MUA) that has a shortage of mental health professionals (MH-HPSA). A convenience sample of 81 rural community mental health counselors participated in this study. A descriptive sample profile was analyzed. Degrees of burnout including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment as well as degrees of job-person congruence were calculated. Bivariate correlations measured the relationship between the three burnout components and the six contextual work factors. To examine the accuracy and strength of the contextual work factors in predicting each of the three components of burnout, three linear and simultaneous multiple regressions were conducted. Three of the 81 participants met the criteria for the burnout syndrome. More than 70 % of the sample experienced high or moderate degrees of emotional exhaustion. Approximately half of the sample acknowledged high or moderate degrees of depersonalization. More than 80% of the sample indicated low or moderate degrees of feelings of personal accomplishment. A range of 42% to 74% of the sample reported job-person congruence in the six areas of worklife. Overall, the contextual work factors model significantly predicted emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. Future praxis and research recommendations are provided.