How do stressors lead to burnout? The mediating role of motivation



Rubino, Cristina
Luksyte, Aleksandra
Perry, Sara J.
Volpone, Sabrina D.

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American Psychological Association


We extend existing stressor-strain theoretical models by including intrinsic motivation as a mediator between well-established job stressors and burnout. Though the link between situational stressors and burnout is well established, little is known about mechanisms behind this relationship. With a sample of 284 self-employed individuals, we examined motivation as a mediator to explain why situational factors impact 3 dimensions of burnout: emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. Motivation is an explanatory mechanism that drives human behavior and thought, and thus may have an impact on important well-being outcomes. As expected, intrinsic motivation was a full mediator for the effect of perceived fit on the inefficacy dimension of burnout. Unexpectedly, neither perceived fit nor motivation was related to the other 2 dimensions of burnout, and role ambiguity had only a direct effect on the inefficacy dimension; it was also unrelated to exhaustion and cynicism. We discuss implications of these findings for researchers as well as for practitioners.




Rubino, C., Luksyte, A., Perry, S. J., Volpone, S. D. (2009). How do stressors lead to burnout? The mediating role of motivation. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14(3), 289-304.