MANIFESTATION OF THE PROFESSIONAL BURNOUT SYNDROME IN SOCIAL WORKERS, EMPLOYED IN COMMUNITY REHABILITATION CENTRES FOR ADDICTIVE DISEASES

Vida Gudžinskienė, Andrejus Pozdniakovas

Abstract


Community Rehabilitation Centre for Addictive Diseases is a complex organization with a very wide range of working activities, where the activities themselves are complex and multifaceted. According to the long-term community rehabilitation methodology that uses the “12 Step” programme, addiction is considered to be a disease with aspects of biological, psychological, social and spiritual nature (Popova (Попова, 2017)). The activities and work of social workers, employed in the community centres for addictive diseases are based on intensive contact with groups of people and individuals with problems that require to be solved (Marc and Osvat, 2013; Gudžinskienė, 2012). Due to the specifics of the mentioned activity, social workers must be able to manage a considerable psychological load of communication and cooperation, must be empathetic and persevering, energetic and initiative-oriented, believe in the necessity and success of their work, try to achieve their aim, and devote all their energies to the work and activities. The following aspiration determines the complexity of working conditions of social workers, experience of strong emotions, and manifestation of stress. It causes a psychosocial phenomenon – the burnout syndrome in social workers.
Research object: professional burnout syndrome. The aim of the article is to reveal manifestation of the professional burnout syndrome in social workers, employed in community rehabilitation centres for addictive diseases. Tasks: 1) to provide the definition of the professional burnout syndrome and its manifestations; 2) to reveal manifestation of professional burnout syndrome in social workers, employed in community rehabilitation centres based on the experience of social workers.
Research methods: academic literature analysis, document analysis, qualitative research type was chosen for the study. In the study, the method of a semi-structured interviews quality (content) analysis, summarizing method was used. This article overviews problematic question of the study: What personal and institutional aspects determine a higher probability, risk of the professional burnout syndrome and what is the professional burnout experience of social workers, employed in community rehabilitation centres for addictive diseases? The following article analyses only the manifestation of professional burnout syndrome in social workers, employed in the community rehabilitation centres for addictive diseases.
The sample of the research. A criteria-based sample was used in the study. The informants (social workers) were chosen according to the following criteria: 1) social workers who have a degree in the area of social work; 2) are engaged in social work with persons addicted to psychoactive substances (alcohol, drugs); 3) have less than 2-year experience related to work with persons addicted to psychoactive substances (addicted to alcohol, drugs); are employed in the community rehabilitation centres for addictive diseases.
The study was conducted in the January – March of 2020 in the community rehab centres of addictive diseases. 7 social workers participated in the study. Each interview continues form 50 -140 minutes.
The obtained data were analyzed by using the content analysis method. The qualitative content analysis was performed in the following sequence (Creswell, 2013): the repeated reading of the content of transcribed interview texts, the distinction of meaning elements in the text analysed, the grouping of the distinguished meaning elements into categories and sub-categories, integration of the categories/sub-categories into the context of the phenomenon analysed and the description of their analysis.
Ethics of the research. Personal permission of the informants to take part in the research was sought. The researchers obliged themselves to the research participants not to divulge the information related to the organisation and the informant. The principles of anonymity, volunteerism and benevolence were followed. The social workers working with persons addicted to psychoactive substances (alcohol, drugs) were acquainted with the goal of the research, the interview questions, and the importance of a reasoned reflection on their experience. Professional burnout syndrome can be understood from different points of view that in total comprise a general concept and consist of the following aspects: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and decrease in self-realization.
Results of the study. The research revealed that factors causing the occurrence of the professional burnout syndrome manifest themselves through organizational, interpersonal, individual and role conflicts, which have been long neglected or left without proper attention and caused the professional burnout syndrome. The analysis of the participants’ experiences of the professional burnout allowed to distinguish four categories: professional burnout syndrome related to the manifestation of negative emotions and behavioural changes; professional burnout syndrome related to physical-somatic features; dissociation from others; emergence of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Empirical research revealed that manifestations of the professional burnout syndrome in social workers are associated with negative emotions and behavioural changes, which can be observed through hypersensitivity, irritability, decrease of self-realization, feelings that you are not needed, loss of motivation to act, and inability to concentrate on the activity one is engaged in. The professional burnout syndrome in social workers, working in the addiction rehabilitation community is also associated with physical-somatic features: somatic diseases, physical exhaustion. Social workers were tormented by insomnia, stomachand headaches, chest pain, panic attacks at night. The informants felt defeated, as if they were not masters of their situations, because they did not have strength not only to perform the assigned work tasks qualitatively, but also to organize their life after work.
Due to psychological and emotional exhaustion, social workers, employed in the addiction rehabilitation community, wanted to be alone, isolated from other people, even from colleagues, clients, and family members; therefore, during the survey, they admitted to distancing from them. Moreover, study participants acknowledged a decline in the quality of time spent with their families. They choose an unhealthy lifestyle by themselves, which manifested through a lack of physical activity and eating disorders.

Keywords


community rehabilitation centre for addictive diseases, depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, professional burnout syndrome, social workers.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SD-20-18-2-01

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789