Coping with burnout: Analysis of linear, non-linear and interaction relationships.

José García-Arroyo, Amparo Osca


This study analyzes the relationship between action-focused coping, emotion-focused coping and burnout dimensions (emotional exhaustion, cynicism and personal accomplishment) by comparing linear, non-linear and interaction models using quadratic regression analysis. The sample consisted of 202 college professors. Variables such as gender or age were not significant when explaining the relationship between coping and burnout. The results show significant negative relationships between emotion-focused coping and exhaustion and cynicism, and positive relationships with personal accomplishment (linear model). They also show that very low or very high levels of emotion-focused coping diminish personal accomplishment significantly (non-linear model), and that the combined effect of strategies is significant, so that when the use of emotion-focused coping is greater than the use of action-focused coping, exhaustion increases and personal accomplishment decreases. These results support the idea that in order to better understand the flexible and adaptive nature of coping and that it operates in a combined process where one strategy affects the other, the application of non-linear and interaction models are very useful. Finally, we discuss the practical implications for future research and for prevention and intervention programs on burnout.


Action-focused coping; emotion-focused coping; burnout; linear relationship; non-linear relationship; interaction effect.

Full Text:



Abbas, S. G., & Roger, A. (2013). Impact of overload and coping strategies on stress & burnout of university teachers. Workshop on Research Advances in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management. Paris, France.

Alarcon, G. M. (2011). A meta-analysis of burnout with job demands, resources, and attitudes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79(2), 549-562.doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2011.03.007

Anderson, C. R. (1976). Coping Behaviors as Interventing Mechanisms in the Inverted-U Stress-Performance Relationship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61(1), 30-34.

Carson, R. L., Tsouloupas, C. N., & Barber, L. K. (2012). Burnout and coping strategies across primary and secondary public school teachers. In C. J. McCarthy, R. G. Lambert, & A. Ullrich, (Eds.), International perspectives on teacher stress (pp. 195-218). Greenwich, Connecticut: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Cavanaugh, M., Boswell, W., Roehling, M., & Boudreau, J. (2000). An empirical examination of self-reported work stress among U.S. managers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 65–74.

Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S.G., & Aiken, L.S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Cooper, C.L., Sloan, S.L., & Williams, S. (1988). Occupational Stress Indicator Management Guide. Windsor: NFER- Nelson.

Cox, T., Tisserand, M., & Taris, T. (2005). The conceptualization and measurement of burnout: questions and directions. Work & Stress, 19(3), 187-191.

Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Vardaku, I., & Kantas, A. (2002). The convergent validity of two burnout instruments: a multitrait-multimethod analysis. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 18, 296-307.

De Jonge, J., Reuvers, M., Houtman, I., Bongers, P.M., & Kompier, M. (2000). Linear and nonlinear relations between psychosocial characteristics, subjective outcome and sickness absence: Baseline results from SMASH. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, 256–268.

Dewe, P. (1989). Examining the nature of work stress: Individual evaluation of stressful experiences and coping. Human Relations, 42(11), 993-1013.

Dewe, P., & Trenberth, L. (2004). Work stress and coping: drawing together research and practice. British Journal of Guidance and Counseling, 32(2), 143-156.

Díaz, F., & Gómez, I. C. (2016). la investigación sobre el síndrome de burnout en Latinoamérica entre 2000 y el 2010. Psicología desde el Caribe, 33(1), 113-131.

Evers, A., Frese, M., & Cooper, C. (2000). Revisions and further developments of the Occupational Stress Indicator: LISREL results from Dutch studies. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 73, 221-240.

Fernández-Ballesteros, R. (2004). Self-Report Questionnaires. In S. N. Haynes and E. M. Heiby (Eds.), Comprehensive Handbook of Psychological Assessment. Behavioral Assessment (pp. 194-221). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Fortes-Ferreira, L., Peiró, J.M., González-Morales, G., & Martin, I. (2006). Work-related stress and well-being: The roles of direct action coping and palliative coping. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 47(4), 293-302.

Gil-Monte, P. (2002).Validez Factorial de la adaptación al español del Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey. Salud Pública de México, 44(1), 33-40.

Greenglass, E.R., & Fiksenbaum, L. (2009). Proactive coping, positive affect, and well being: Testing for mediation using path analysis. European Psychologist, 14(1), 29-39.

Guerrero, E. (2003). Análisis pormenorizado de los grados de burnout y técnicas de afrontamiento del estrés docente en profesorado universitario. Anales de Psicología, 19(1), 145-158.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Cultures consequences. Comparing values, behaviours, institutions and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Huang, B. (2009). Impact of job stress on job satisfaction and burnout: A meta-analysis. Bulletin of Educational Psychology, 40(3), 439-462.

Ilaja, B., & Reyes, C. (2016). Burnout y estrategias de inteligencia emocional en profesores universitarios: Implicaciones en la salud laboral educativa. Psicología desde el Caribe, 33(1), 31-46.

Kay-Eccles, R. (2012). Meta-analysis of the relationship between co-worker social support and burnout using a two-level hierarchical linear model. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 34(8), 1062-1063. doi:10.1177/0193945912453684

Koeske, G. F., Kirk, S. A. & Koeske, R. D. (1993). Coping with job stress: Which strategies work best? Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 66, 319–335.

Kristensen, T. S., Borritz, M., Villadsen, E., & Christensen, K. B. (2005). The Copenhagen Burnout Inventory: A new tool for the assessment of burnout. Work & Stress, 19, 192-207.

Lazarus, R. S. (2000). Toward better research on stress and coping. American Psychologist, 55, 665–673.

Lazarus, R.S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, Appraisal and Coping. Nueva York: Springer Publishing Company.

Lee, J., Lim, N., Yang, E., & Lee, S. M. (2011). Antecedents and consequences of three dimensions of burnout in psychotherapists: A meta-analysis. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 42(3), 252-258. doi:10.1037/a0023319

Lewin, J. E., & Sager, J. K. (2008). Salesperson burnout: A test of the coping-mediational model of social support. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 28(3), 233-246. doi:10.2753/PSS0885-3134280302

Lin, H., Probst, J.C., & Hsu, Y. (2010). Depression among female psychiatric nurses in southern Taiwan: Main and moderating effects of job stress, coping behavior and social support. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19(15-16), 2342-2354.

Lyne, D. L., Barret, T. B., Williams, W. & Coaley, C. (2000). A psychometric evaluation of the Occupational Stress Indicator. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 73, 195– 220.

Manzano-García, G., & Ayala-Calvo, J. C. (2013). New Perspectives: Towards an Integration of the concept "burnout" and its explanatory models. Anales de Psicología, 29(3), 800-809.

Maslach, C., Jackson, S.E., & Leiter, M.P. (1996). MBI: The Maslach Burnout Inventory: Manual. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Maslach, C. & Leiter, M. P. (2016). Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry. World Psychiatry, 15 (1), 1-9.

Nizielski, S., Hallum, S., Schütz, A., & Lopes, P. (2013). A note on emotion appraisal and burnout: The mediating role of antecedent-focused coping strategies. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(3), 363-369.

Noblet, A, Rodwell, J., & Allisey, A. (2009). Job stress in the law enforcement sector: comparing the linear, non–linear and interaction effects of working conditions. Stress and Health, 25, 111–120. DOI: 10.1002/smi.1227

Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd. ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Parkes, K.R. (1991). Locus of control as moderator: An explanation for additive versus interactive findings in the demand discretion model of work stress? British Journal of Psychology, 82, 291–312.

Pisanti, R., Gagliardi, M. P., Razzino, S., & Bertini, M. (2003). Occupational Stress and Wellness Among Italian Secondary School Teachers. Psychology and Health, 18(4), 523–536.

Preston, M. S. (2013). Advancing case manager motivation in child welfare: Job control's curvilinear relationship and instrumental feedback's moderating influence. Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 2003–2012

Purvanova, R. K., & Muros, J. P. (2010). Gender differences in burnout: A meta-analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77(2), 168-185. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2010.04.006

Raedeke, T. D., & Smith, A. L. (2004). Coping resources and athlete burnout: An examination of stress mediated and moderation hypotheses. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 26(4), 525-541.

Rick, J. & Guppy, A. (1994). Coping strategies and mental health in white-collar public sector employees. European Work and Organizational Psychologist, 4, 121–137.

Rydstedt, L., Ferrie, J., & Head, J. (2006). Is there support for curvilinear relationships between psychosocial work characteristics and mental well-being? Cross-sectional and long-term data from the Whitehall II study. Work and Stress, 20(1), 6–20.

Schaufeli, W.B., Leiter, M.P., Maslach, C. (2008). Burnout: 35 years of research and practice. Career Development International, 14(3), 204-220.

Schaufeli, W.B., Leiter, M.P., Maslach, C., & Jackson, S.E. (1996). Maslach Burnout Inventory: General survey. En Maslach, C. Jackson, S.E. y Leiter, M.P. (Eds.): The Maslach Burnout Inventory. RTest manual. (3rd. ed.). Palo Alto Ca.: Consulting psychologist Press.

Shimazu, A., & Kosugi, S. (2003). Job stressor, coping and psychological distress among Japanese employees: interplay between active and non-active coping. Work and Stress, 17, 38-51.

Shin, H., Park, Y. M., Ying, J. Y., Kim, B., Noh, H., & Lee, S. M. (2014). Relationships between coping strategies and burnout symptoms: A meta-analytic approach. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(1), 44-56. doi:10.1037/a0035220

Shirom, A. (2005). Reflections on the study of burnout. Work & Stress, 19(3), 263-270.

Spector, P. E. (1994). Using self-report questionnaires in OB research: a comment on the use of a controversial method. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15, 385-392.

Steiler, D., & Paty, B. (2009). Developing a French versión of the Occupational Stress Indicator (OSI). Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée, 59, 113-122.

Tomás, J. M., de los Santos, S., Alonso-Andres, A., & Fernández, I. (2016). Validation of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey on a representative sample of Dominican teachers: Normative data. The Spanish Journal Of Psychology, 19. doi:10.1017/sjp.2016.91

Warr, P. (1987). Work, unemployment and mental health. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Warr, P. (1990). Decision latitude, job demands, and employee well-being. Work & Stress,4, 285–294.

Warr, P. (2013). Fuentes de felicidad e infelicidad en el trabajo: una perspectiva combinada. Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 29, 99-106. DOI:

Weiss, N. H., Duke, A. A., & Sullivan, T. P. (2014). Evidence for a curvilinear dose-response relationship between avoidance coping and drug use problems among women who experience intimate partner violence. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 27(6), 722–732,

Wheeler, D. L., Vassar, M., Worley, J. A., & Barnes, L. L. B. (2011). A Reliability Generalization Meta-Analysis of Coefficient Alpha for the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 71(1), 231-244.doi:10.1177/0013164410391579

Yankelevich, M, Broadfoot, A., Gillespie, J. Z., Gillespie, M. A., & Guidroz, A. (2012). General Job Stress: A Unidimensional Measure and Its Non‐linear Relations with Outcome Variables. Stress and Health, 28, 137–148. DOI: 10.1002/smi.1413



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Murcia (Spain)

Open AccessSello de Calidad FECyT 2013Thomson-Reuters-JCRScielo-Españadoajscimago