Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Victoria Shivy


The current research examined the influence of the emotional labor strategies of faking emotion and suppression of emotion, empowerment, and geriatric caregiving self-efficacy on the relationship between work stress and emotional exhaustion—one dimension of burnout—for a sample of nursing staff members employed in a state-level geriatric psychiatric hospital. The total sample included 79 participants, which included registered nurses (n = 15), licensed practical nurses (n = 23) , and human service care workers (n = 41) who completed the Stress in General scale (Stanton, Balzer, Smith, Parra, & Ironson, 2001), Maslach Burnout Inventory (Human Services Survey; Maslach, Jackson & Leiter, 1996), Discrete Emotions Emotional Labor Scale (Glomb & Tews, 2004), Psychological Empowerment Scale (Spreitzer, 1995), and Geriatric Nursing Self-efficacy Scale (Mackenzie & Peragine, 2003). The mean emotional exhaustion score for the sample fell in the moderate range of burnout. First, it was hypothesized that work stress and emotional labor strategies (i.e., faking emotion and suppression of emotion) would have positive relationships with the burnout domain of emotional exhaustion while empowerment and geriatric caregiving self-efficacy would have negative relationships with this outcome. Next, a series of regression analyses tested emotional labor (i.e., faking emotion and suppression of emotion), empowerment, and geriatric caregiving self-efficacy as moderators for the relationship between stress and burnout. Results indicated that study variables were all related to emotional exhaustion in the expected direction, although several relationships fell short of statistical significance. In addition, emotional labor was a significant predictor of emotional exhaustion, with suppression of emotion playing a larger role. There was no support for the potential moderating role of emotional labor or empowerment on the relationship between work stress and burnout. However, geriatric caregiving self-efficacy was a significant moderator of this relationship. More specifically, when staff reported high work stress, those who had low self-efficacy experienced the highest emotional exhaustion values. However, when self-efficacy was high for this group, their emotional exhaustion scores decreased. For this sample, higher levels of self-efficacy appeared to play a protective role from experiencing more emotional exhaustion when in a high stress condition.


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Is Part Of

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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

November 2010