Can skill-development training alleviate burnout in hospital social workers?

Miri Cohen, Roni Gagin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Staff development programs, which focus on imparting and improving intervention skills, are acknowledged as an efficient way to reduce burnout, but few studies have examined this effect. The aim of the present study was to detect any difference in the level of social worker's burnout before and after attending two different skill-development groups, namely group-intervention skills for more experienced social workers and general hospital social-work skills for less experienced. Twenty-five hospital social workers participated in the study. The three dimensions of burnout, namely emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment, changed between the pre-training and post-training measures: personal accomplishment rose by 12.39% and depersonalization fell by 29.75%. The difference was significant for the two dimensions in both groups. Emotional exhaustion significantly declined in the hospital social-work skills group only, and revealed a group-time effect. The level of peer support rose in the hospital-skills group and was positively related to a lowering of emotional exhaustion. This was an exploratory study, with a rather small sample, and the results are preliminary, but they show a promising possibility of burnout reduction among professional workers. Further research on the effect of skill development training on reducing burnout is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-97
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005


  • Burnout
  • Hospital
  • Skill-development
  • Social workers
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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