The role of coping styles in predicting job burnout in middle aged by controlling the gender variable

Author Name(s): Reza Ranjbaran, Mahnaz Aliakbari, Nasirudin Javidi*
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Background and Objective: middle age is defined as a stage of psychological development in the context of life or the transitional period that includes biological, psychological and social changes. Middle-aged people can face with significant adjustment challenges in the workplace. In the discussion of psychological development in middle age, job burnout is a condition in which long-term job stress leads to emotional exhaustion, lack of personal fulfillment and a sense of achievement reduction. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between coping with stress styles and job burnout welfare organization staff.


Middle age has bene defined as a stage of psychological development throughout the life of the transitional period that involves the biological, psychological and social, etc. changes. This period occurs generally in the late 30 or early 40. Middle-aged people in the workplace can face with significant adjustment challenges (1). In middle age, many workers begin experiencing age-related changes in sensory and physical health and performance and this issue puts their safety in the workplace designed for young at risk (2). A concept that is talk about in the discussion of the problems of the middle period, especially middle age crisis, is job burnout; a concept that is used on the middle ages of employed ones, who are exposed to high levels of stress (1). Job burnout was defined for the first time by Froudenburgh (1974) as a state of fatigue or frustration due to one’s dedication to the job, lifestyle, purpose or relationships that have failed to obtain the expected reward (2). Job burnout is a health-related problem in working life today. Maslesh and Jackson (1986) stated that job burnout includes three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and professional inefficacy (4). They expressed emotional exhaustion as stress, feelings of being pressured and losing emotional resources of the person. Depersonalization is in fact a negative and pessimistic attitude towards others. Professional inefficacy also relates to loss of a sense of competence and the successful implementation of the work task or responsibility in relation to others and their negative attitude and evaluation (5). Burke (2001), in discussing the psychological development in middle age, maintains that job burnout is a situation where long-term stress leads to emotional exhaustion, lack of personal fulfillment and a sense of reduced achievement. Job burnout is a work and stress-related syndrome (6 and 7) that can be described as a long-term response to chronic stress at work that influence employees across their profession and industry (7). Job burnout is the result of continuous efforts to adapt to the stress of work or protect against it (6). When the person in the workplace or living conditions faced this situation with that does not match with his current capacity and facilities, the person is affected with conflicts and internal challenges that is called stress (8). The first efforts to define stress in the behavioral or psychological fields was conducted by Volter Cannon. He defined stress as a syndrome of fight or flight (9). This concept was more considered as understood by the works of Hans Selye on general adaptation syndrome. In 1950, Selye used the term stress. He defined general adaptation syndrome as the process of general efforts of body against stressful factors (10, 11). Stress is a pattern of negative psychological and physiological states responses that occur in person (12). Stress does not affect only the physical health but also affect the psychological well-being (11). Stress also has a negative impact on the working performance and causes reduced permanently motivation and fatigue (12).


In the present study, the relationship between coping styles with stress and job burnout in middle age was examined. The results showed there is a direct significant correlation between job burnout among Tehran Welfare Organziation staff and emotion-focused coping style (P≤0.01) and there is a significant inverse relationship between problem-focused coping style and job burnout among Tehran Welfare Organziation staff (P≤0.01).  Also, two problem-focused coping style and emotion-focused coping style can predict job burnout. Hence, problem-focused coping style has the highest correlation and the power to explain job burnout among research variables. Burnout is a psychological as well as physical fatigue syndrome, which can lead to negative behavior and attitude towards their work and cause unproductive work and absenteeism, low morale and lack of job satisfaction (5). Job burnout is a serious developmental threat in middle age that is associated with poor health analysis (21). Long and persistent workplace stress can cause problems such as job burnout and follow problems such as resignation, repeated absenteeism, reduced work efficiency and reduced energy (22). Stress is a negative issue for everyone, research insist that mistakes, failures and obstacles are potentially an opportunity for learning and the resources to deal with future adverse events (13). What is more important in the processes of stress-related diseases than stress and its intensity itself is the type of reaction and response to stressful factors (23). Meeting the demands management process (external or internal) refers to what has been assessed difficult or beyond the resources of individual (20). It is clear that age-related changes in health and social roles influences the experience of stressful factors and this in turn affects the individual coping with stress (15). Two types of general coping strategies are problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping. Problem-focused coping intends to eliminate problem or adjust it, while emotion-focused coping seeks to restrain emotional consequences of stressful factors (20). People use different coping responses in the face of stressful situations. Using a variety of effective and ineffective coping strategies will follow different consequences for physical and mental health of individuals. The results of some studies have shown that inefficient coping in the face of stress leads to increased tension and challenge (23).

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