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Which worker types are most at risk of burnout? Survey explores

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Boston — People who are “strivers” at work but struggle with job-related anxiety may face a heightened risk of burnout, a recent analysis shows.

Researchers from online stress management platform provider meQuilibrium surveyed 2,000 adult full-time workers, classifying them into one of six segments based on burnout risk: soulful sufferers, checked out, status quos, strivers, stretched superstars and change masters.

Findings show that strivers have the highest risk of burnout because of their combination of high agility and low resilience – despite exhibiting “a growth mindset” that results in them “brimming with untapped potential,” according to an Aug. 22 press release. Workers in this segment were linked to greater risks of anxiety (54%) and depression (27%), while 66% reported experiencing more negative emotions than positive ones.

The researchers also found that 44% of “soulful sufferers” – identified as “caring people who are struggling to be adaptive, and worrying about relationships and work” – are at high risk of burnout. This group’s low resilience and low agility contribute to its average use of 13 sick days a year. Seventy percent of soulful sufferers reported feeling accelerated pressure on the job, while group members faced a 49% greater risk of depression and anxiety.

 

“We can’t totally eliminate stress, which is one of the root causes of burnout, from business – but we can support employees by training them to manage stress better, and address the consequences before they impact business metrics such as revenue and profit,” Lucy English, vice president of research at meQuilibrium, said in the release.

In a June revision of its International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization calls burnout an “occupational phenomenon” and outlines three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to the work
  • Reduced effectiveness on the job

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