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Feeling 'Trapped,' Obligated Raises Odds of Job Burnout: Study

MONDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- People who stay with an employer out of a sense of obligation or because they feel they don't have a choice are at increased risk for job burnout, a new study says.

"When employees stay with their organization because they feel that they have no other options, they are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion. This feeling, in turn, may lead them to leave the organization," study co-author Alexandra Panaccio, an assistant professor in the business school at Concordia University in Montreal, said in a university news release.

"The implication is that employers should try to minimize this 'lack of alternatives' type of commitment among employees by developing their competencies, thus increasing their feeling of mobility and, paradoxically, contributing to them wanting to stay with the organization," she explained.

The study of 260 workers, average age 34, in various types of jobs also found that people with high self-esteem are most affected by a perceived lack of job options. That may be because this situation doesn't match these workers' view of themselves as competent and important people, the researchers suggested.

Staying with a company out of sense of obligation can have a different effect.

"It may be that, in the absence of an emotional bond with the organization, commitment based on obligation is experienced as a kind of indebtedness -- a loss of autonomy that is emotionally draining over time," Panaccio said.

The study was published recently in the journal Human Relations.

More information has more about job burnout.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Concordia University, news release, April 3, 2012

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