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Effort-reward imbalance and burnout among humanitarian aid workers

Jachens, Liza; Houdmont, Jonathan; Thomas, Roslyn

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Liza Jachens

Roslyn Thomas


Objectives: This study examined stress-related working conditions – defined in terms of effort-reward imbalance (ERI) – and its association with burnout among a large, international sample of humanitarian aid workers.

Methods: Descriptive statistics were applied on crosssectional survey data (N=1,980) to profile ERI and burnout and Pearson’s χ 2 tests used to characterize associated socio- and occupational-demographic factors. Associations between ERI and burnout were established using binary logistic regression to generate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for potential confounding variables.

Results: For high emotional exhaustion, the prevalence rate was 36% for women and 27% for men; high depersonalisation, 9% and 10%; and low personal achievement, 47% and 31%. Intermediate and high ERI was associated with significantly increased odds of high emotional exhaustion, with mixed findings for depersonalisation and personal achievement.

Conclusions: The ERI model was supported as a useful framework for investigating occupational correlates of burnout.


Jachens, L., Houdmont, J., & Thomas, R. (2019). Effort-reward imbalance and burnout among humanitarian aid workers. Disasters, 43(1), 67-87.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 20, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 12, 2018
Publication Date 2019-01
Deposit Date Aug 1, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jun 12, 2018
Journal Disasters
Print ISSN 0361-3666
Electronic ISSN 1467-7717
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 1
Pages 67-87
Keywords effort-reward imbalance, burnout, humanitarian aid worker
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Aug 1, 2017


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