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Running head: SOCIAL SUPPORT AND COMMUNICATION COMPETENCE 1

TheRelationshipofSocialSupportandCommunicationCompetencetoBurnout

JoannJohnson

WinonaStateUniversity
Running head: SOCIAL SUPPORT AND COMMUNICATION COMPETENCE 2

Method

Thegoalofthisstudyistoexaminetheroleofhumanserviceemployeesperceivedsocial

supportandcommunicationcompetenceandhowthoseperceptionsaffecttheirlikelihoodto

burnout.

H1:Asperceptionsofsocialsupportincrease,reportedlevelsofburnoutdecrease.

H2:Asperceptionsofcommunicationcompetenceincrease,reportedlevelsofburnout

decrease.

ConceptualandOperationaldefinitions

ThroughmyresearchinthefieldofhealthcareIhavecomposedtwohypotheses.Dueto

thisIhavethreevariablestoworkwith:socialsupport,communicationcompetenceandburnout.

Socialsupportisdefinedconceptuallyasthefeelinganindividualhasabouthowsupportedthey

feelbytheircompanyandcoworkers(duPre,2013).FormystudyIplantodefinesocial

supportoperationallyasSararson,Sarson,ShearinandPiercedointheirarticlepublishedin

1987).ThoughIdonothavetodirectarticleyet,theirquestionnairefocusesonsocialsupport

satisfactionwithintheworkplace.

MynextvariableofcommunicationcompetenceisdefinedconceptuallybyLarason,

BucklundRedmonandBarbour(1978),butcitedbyWiemannandBucklund(1980);theystate

thatcommunicationcompetenceis,Theabilityofanindividualtodemonstrateknowledgeof

theappropriatecommunicativeinagivensituation.OperationallyIwillbeusingthe

communicationcompetencescaleusedbyRubin,PalmgreenandSypher.Thesescholarsuse
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Wiemannscompetencescalethatdeterminesanindividualsreactionswheninahighlystressful

situation(Rubin,Palmgreen&Sypher1997).

Lastly,burnoutwillbeconceptuallydefinedasthedetachedfeelinganindividualfeels

towardstheirjob.Thiscanbeseenasloweredpersonalaccomplishment,oriftheindividualdoes

notfeeltheyaregoingasatisfactoryjobandthereforetheycannotachievegoalssetforthem

(Maslach,Schaufeli,&Leiter,2001).Operationally,Iwilldefineburnoutthesamewayasitis

talkedaboutconceptually,usingMaslachsBurnoutscalethatasksquestionsaboutemotional

exhaustionanddepersonalization(Maslach,Jackson&Leiter,1997).

ParticipantsorSubjects

ParticipantsinthisstudywillbeemployeesthatworkatLegaciesLLC.Idecidedto

contactthiscompanybecausetheirstaffworksoneononewithandkidsandadultswhohave

mentalillnessordisabilitieswhoneedmoreofthatoneononeattention.Participantswillbe

thoseemployeeswhoworkasDesignatedcoordinatorsandDirectSupportProfessionals.Dueto

theunequalamountofwomenvs.meninthisfield,Iexpecttheretobeahighernumberof

womentakingthesurvey.Thoughtherewillmostlikelybemorewomen,itwillnotskewmy

overallresultssincemyhypothesisdonotincludeagenderfactor.Inmyselectionofparticipants

withinthecompany,Iwillnotbelookingatage,buttheamountoftimetheyhavebeenworking

withinhumanservices.

Materials

Inthisstudy,participantswillbetakingallthreeselfadministratedsurveysonline

throughQualtrics.Participantswillbeaskedtoanswerallsurveyswiththeircoworker
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relationshipsinmind.TheMaslachBurnoutInventoryisa6pointLikerttypescale,ranging

from0,Neverto6Always.(Dr.LyouputabackwardsSthoughthissoIwasntsureeven

afterlookingonline,whatneededtobedonewiththepartsinred)TheMBIhasbeenused

aroundtheworldforyearsandhasbeenshowntohaveasignificantvalidity.Oneoftheways

scholarsseetheMBIscaletobevalidisfromoutsideobservers.Thosewhoscorehighin

emotionalexhaustion,oftenareseenasagitatedorstressbyothersaroundthem.Thesecondway

thisisdemonstratedisbycaseload(whenlookingathumanservicejobs).Theheavierthe

caseloadanindividualhasthemorelikelytheyaretoexperienceburnout(Maslach,Jackson,

Leiter1997).

Thescalemeasuresthreedimensions:emotionalexhaustion,reducedpersonal

accomplishment,anddepersonalization.Theinventorywillaskparticipantsquestionlike,Ifeel

usedupattheendoftheworkday,Ihavebecomelessenthusiasticaboutmywork,Ihave

accomplishedmanyworthwhilethingsinthisjobandIfeelemotionallydrainedfrommywork.

TheMBIwilltakeparticipants23minutestocomplete.

Mynextsurveywillbethecommunicativecompetencescale,createdbyWiemannin

1977,tomeasureanindividualsabilitytomaintainthemselvesinhighstresssituationsandtheir

knowledgeofthatsituation.Thecommunicativecompetencescaleassessesfivedimensionsand

theyareasfollowed:Empathy,Affiliation/support,generalcompetence,behavioralflexibility

andsocialrelaxation(Rubin,Palmgreen&Sypher,2009).TheCCSisa5pointLikerttype

scalewhichrangesfromstronglyagreetostronglydisagree.Thequestionsfocusonquestions

suchas,Ifinditeasytogetalongwithothers,Iameasytotalkto,Iunderstandpeople,Idonot

followworkconversationsverywellandIgenerallysaytherightthingattherighttime.
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Studieshaveshownthatthecommunicativecompetencescaleisvalid.Cupachand

Spitzerg(1983)assitedby,Rubin,Palmgree&Sypher,statethattherewasastronglink

betweentheCCSandselfratedcompetence.HazletionandCupach(1986),ascitedbyRubin,

Palmgree&Sypher,foundacorrelationbetweencommunicativecompetenceandbothlogical

knowledgeoninterpersonalcommunicationandinterpersonalcommunicationapprehension

(2009).

MylastsurveyisaSocialSupportQuestionnaire.TheoneIamusingisashortversion

bySarason,Sarason,Shearin,andPierce(1987).Thequestionnairemeasuressocialsupportan

individualfeelsintheworkplace.Itismeasuredona7pointLikerttypescale.Someofthe

questionsparticipantswillseeare:Whocanyoureallycountontohelpyoufeelbetweenwhen

youareinthedumps,orhowsatisfiedareyouwiththatsupport(Wright,Banas,Bessarabova&

Bernard2010).

Iwantedtouseallthreeofthesesurveysbecausetheyareallusedtomeasuremythree

variables.Attheendofmystudy,myhopeistoconnectallthreeandseewhatfactorsmostlead

toburnoutandatwhatpointintheparticipantscareer.

Procedure

Participantsinthisstudywillbesentanemailthatcontainsamessagefrommetalking

aboutwhyIamaskingthemtoparticipateinthesurveyalongwithalinkthatwilldirectthemto

thequaltricssurvey.First,myparticipantsaregoingtoanswertheseriesofsurveyquestions,

whichwillbeonline.Next,participantswillbeaskedtwoquestionsattheend,whichareas

followed:Whatisyourgenderandhowlonghaveyoubeenworkinginthehumanservicefield?

Forthesecondquestionpertainingtohowlongtheyhavebeenworkingindirectcare,
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participantswillbeabletochose:Oneyear,twoyears,threeyearorfourplusyears.Iwantto

askhowlongtheyhaveworkeddirectlywiththeseindividualsbecauseattheendofthestudy

whenIamanalyzingthematerial,Ihopetoseeadifferenceinburnout,socialsupportand

communicationcompetence,forparticipantswhohaveworkedthereayearverses4+years.To

getthemostaccurateresults,Iwanttogive100participantsmysurveystofillout.Thesewillall

beaccessibletothemonlineandincludeasocialsupportquestionnairebySarason,Sarason,

ShearinandPierces(1987)tomeasureperceivedsocialsupport,Wiemanns36item

communicationcompetencescaletomeasurecommunicationcompetenceandlastly,Maslachs

burnoutinventorywhichwillmeasurethelikelihoodofburnoutanindividualhas.

Analysis

TheanalysisofthisdatawillbedonethroughaRegressiontable.Thetwoindependent

variableswillbesocialsupportandcommunicationcompetenceandthedependentvariablewill

beBurnout.Theregressiontablewillanalyzehowsocialsupportandcommunication

competenceaffectthelikelihoodofburnouttooccur.
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Appendix

Maslach Burnout Inventory

Always
Never
Item
1. I feel emotionally drained from my work. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
2. I feel used up at the end of the workday. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
3. I feel tired when I get up in the morning and have 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
to face another day on the job.
4. Working all day is really a strain for me. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
5. I can effectively solve the problems that arise in 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
my work.
6. I feel burned out from my work. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
7. I feel that I am making an effective contribution to 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
what this organization does.
8. I have become less interested in my work since I 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
started this job.
9. I have become less enthusiastic about my work. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
10.In my opinion, I am good at my job. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
11.I feel exhilarated when I accomplish something at 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
work.
12.I have accomplished many worthwhile things in 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
this job.
13.I just want to do my job and not be bothered. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
14.I have become more cynical about whether my 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
work contributes anything.
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15.I doubt the significance of my work. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6


16.At my work, I feel confident that I am effective at 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
getting things done.

From the MBI manual. (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1996)

Item Number Exhaustion Personal Efficacy Cynicism


1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

Total for the


column:
Number to 5 6 5
divide by:
Your average:

Scoring for the Maslach Burnout Inventory


Directions:
1) For each item, write the score you put on the survey in its shaded box.
2) Go to the bottom of this sheet. Add up all the numbers in the column and divide by
the number indicated.
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What the scores mean:


Low (Lower Average (Middle High (Upper
Third) Third) Third)
Exhaustion <=2.00 2.01-3.19 >=3.20
Cynicism <=1.00 1.01-2.19 >=2.20
Professional <=4.00 4.01-4.99 >=5.00
Efficacy
From the MBI manual. (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1996

CommunicativeCompetenceScale*

Instruction:Completethefollowingquestionnaire/scalewiththesubjects(I)inmind.Circleone
ofthesetsoflettersbeforeeachnumberedquestionbasesuponwhetheryou(SA),agree(A),are
undecidedorneutral(?),disagree(D),orstronglydisagree(SD).Alwayskeepyourworkplace
inmindasyouanswer.

Stronglyagree AgreeUndecidedorneutralDisagreeStronglydisagree

SA A ? D SD

{Editorsnote:Respondentsusetheabovescaletorespondtoallitems.}

1. Ifinditeasytogetalongwithothers
2. Icanadapttochangingsituations
3. Itreatpeopleasindividuals
4. Iinterruptotherstoomuch
5. Clientsarerewardingtotalkto
6. Icandealwithclientseffectively
7. Iamagoodlistener
8. Iamcoldanddistant
9. Iameasytotalkto
10. Iwillnotarguewithaclientjusttoprovehe/sheisright
11. Myconversationbehaviorisnotsmooth
12. Iignoreclientsfeelings
13. Igenerallyknowhowothersfeel
14. IletclientsknowthatIunderstandthem
15. Iunderstandotherpeople
16. Iamrelaxedandconfortablewhenspeaking
17. Ilistentowhatotherpeoplesaytome
18. Iliketobecloseandpersonalwithmyclients
19. Igenerallyknowwhattypeofbehaviorisappropriateinsituations
20. Iusuallydonotmakeunusualdemandsformyclients
21. Iamaneffectiveconversationalist
22. Iamsupportivetoothers
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23. Idonotmindmeetingstrangers
24. Icaneasilyputmyselfinanotherpersonsshoes
25. Ipayattentiontoconversations
26. Igenerallyamrelaxedwhenconversingwithanewacquaint
27. Iaminterestedinwhatothershavetosay
28. Idontfollowworkmeetingconversationsverywell
29. Ienjoysocialgatheringsatwork
30. Iamalikableperson
31. Iamflexible
32. Iamnotafraidtospeakwithpeopleinauthorityatmyjob
33. Staffmemberscancometomewiththeirproblems
34. Igenerallysaytherightthingattherighttime
35. Iliketousemyvoiceandbodyexpressively
36. Iamsensitivetoothersneedsofthemoment

Note:Items4,8,11,12,and28arereversecodedbeforesummingthe36items.ForPartner
versionIisreplacedbymypartnerandby:mylongstandingrelationshippartnerinthe
instructions.Fortheselfreportversion,2isreplacedbyIandstatementsareadjustedfor
firstpersonsingular.

Socialsupportquestionnaireonnextpage
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References

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Maslach,C.,Jackson,S.E.,&Leiter,M.P.(1997).Maslachburnoutinventory.Evaluating

stress:Abookofresources,3,191218.

Wiemann,J.,&Backlund,P.(1980).Currenttheoryandresearchincommunicative

competence.ReviewofEducationalResearch,50(1),185199.

Wright,K.B.,Banas,J.A.,Bessarabova,E.,&Bernard,D.R.(2010).ACommunication

competenceapproachtoexamininghealthcaresocialsupport,sStress,andjob

burnout. HealthCommunication,25(4),375382.doi:10.1080/10410231003775206

Pre,du,.(2013).Communicationaboutheath:Currentissuesandperspective(4thed.).

NewYork:OcfordUniversityPress

Rubin,B.R.,Palmgree,P.,&Sypher,E.H.(2009).Communicationresearchmeasures.

Location:Routledge.