New research suggests there are three different types of burnout, each of which is related to a specific detrimental coping strategy.
- Overload burnout – the ‘always-on’ employee who never gives up and works toward success until they become exhausted. The coping strategy is emotional venting. These people will complain about organisational hierarchy, inefficient processes etc and the fact that these impose on their goals and ambitions. This coping strategy can lead to occupational stress overload and a tendency to throw in the towel.
- Boredom burnout – the perpetually-frustrated employee who feels they are pushing against a concrete ceiling and are constantly bored and lacking in personal development. The coping strategy is avoidance. These under-challenged workers tend to manage stress levels by distancing themselves from work, which can lead to depersonalisation and cynicism.
- Worn-out burnout – employees who are dreamers. They really want to achieve a certain goal but they just lack the motivation to overcome the obstacles. The coping strategy is giving up.
Potential treatments to overcome these ineffective coping strategies could include, according to the researchers, emotion regulation, cognitive flexibility training and mindfulness.
The survey questioned 429 university workers of various occupations.