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Evaluation of Child Abuse and Neglect Demonstration Projects, 1974-1977, V 9 - Project Management and Worker Burnout

NCJ Number
K Armstrong
Date Published
200 pages
This report analyzes the organization and management of 11 demonstration child abuse and neglect projects and identifies factors associated with worker burnout.
The projects were funded by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from 1974 through 1977 to test alternative strategies for dealing with child abuse and neglect. Evaluation data were collected via onsite interviews and/or questionnaires with project management and staff. Data were collected from 162 workers. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis was used to describe the projects, determine the prevalence of worker burnout, and to determine the relationships between these factors. Results showed that structured, supportive program leadership had the greatest role in reducing worker burnout. Other important variables were supportiveness, strength of program leadership, amount and clarity of communication, degree of supervisory responsibility, degree of innovation allowed, and worker's age. Other important factors were the worker's experience and sex, and the degree of rule formalization. Results indicated that burnout is a function of both the worker's personal characteristics and the work environment. To reduce worker burnout, a program needs effective leadership, clear communication, shared supervisory responsibility or supportive supervision, and smaller caseload sizes. A program should permit innovation as well as lack of adherence to certain formalized rules when it is in the clients' best interests. Younger and less experienced workers need special attention to help them avoid burnout. Tables, figures, footnotes, and a bibliography of approximately 20 references are provided. A literature review, project descriptions, data collection instruments, and project managment descriptions are appended. For evaluations of other aspects of the demonstration projects, see NCJ 73114-21, 73123, and 73190.