Burnout Among Iowa Hospice Workers: A Test of the Job Demands-Resources Model

Meredith Stensland, Miriam Landsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Burnout is a critical problem for hospice care system, particularly given the potential increase in hospice utilization because of the increasing older adult population. Hospice care requires social workers and other professionals to work in interdisciplinary settings under conditions of prolonged stress. Guided by the Job Demands-Resources (JDR) model, this study sought to: (1) understand Iowa hospice workers’ level of burnout, indicated by emotional exhaustion (EE); (2) identify organizational and personal determinants of EE. This web-based study used a cross-sectional survey administered to hospice staff across Iowa. Seventeen hospice organizations participated as study sites, and 244 out of 825 employees, consisting of interdisciplinary clinical workers and administrative personnel, completed the survey. Descriptive, correlational, and regression statistics were used to test study hypotheses. Regarding EE levels, 59% of participants were experiencing low EE, while the other 41% had moderate or high EE. Those lacking empathy, working full-time, and working for larger hospice organizations had greater EE. While findings largely support the JDR model, interactions between demands and resources offer only partial support. Results indicate the importance of hospices fostering supportive work environments and providing employee education about emotional benefits of respect, strategies for displaying workplace respect, and evaluation of respect-related initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-238
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Burnout
  • emotional exhaustion
  • hospice
  • respect
  • social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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