Original Research

Investigating the reversed causality of engagement and burnout in job demands-resources theory

Leon T. de Beer, Jaco Pienaar, Sebastiaan Rothmann Jr.
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 39, No 1 | a1055 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v39i1.1055 | © 2013 Leon T. de Beer, Jaco Pienaar, Sebastiaan Rothmann Jr. | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 May 2012 | Published: 22 March 2013

About the author(s)

Leon T. de Beer, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Jaco Pienaar, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Sebastiaan Rothmann Jr., Afriforte (Pty) Ltd., Commercial Arm of the WorkWell Research Unit, South Africa


Orientation: Reversed causality is an area that has not commanded major attention within the South African context, specifically pertaining to engagement, burnout and job demands resources. Therefore, this necessitated an investigation to elucidate the potential effects.

Research purpose: To investigate the reversed causal hypotheses of burnout and engagement in job demands-resources theory over time.

Motivation for the study: Organisations and researchers should be made aware of the effects that burnout and engagement could have over time on resources and demands.

Research design, approach and method: A longitudinal design was employed. The availability sample (n = 593) included participants from different demographic backgrounds. A survey was used to measure all constructs at both points in time. Structural equation modelling techniques were implemented with a categorical estimator to investigate the proposed hypotheses.

Main findings: Burnout was found to have a significant negative longitudinal relationship with colleague support and supervisor support, whilst the negative relationship with supervisor support over time was more prominent. Engagement showed only one significant but small, negative relationship with supervisor support over time. All other relationships were statistically non-significant.

Practical/managerial implications: This study makes organisations aware of the relationship between burnout and relationships at work over time. Proactive measures to promote relationships at work, specifically supervisor support, should be considered in addition to combatting burnout itself and promoting engagement.

Contribution/value-add: This study provides insights and information on reversed causality, namely, the effects that engagement and burnout can have over time.


Work Engagement; Burnout; Reversed Causality; Job Resources; Job Demands


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Crossref Citations

1. Physical, psychological and occupational consequences of job burnout: A systematic review of prospective studies
Denise Albieri Jodas Salvagioni, Francine Nesello Melanda, Arthur Eumann Mesas, Alberto Durán González, Flávia Lopes Gabani, Selma Maffei de Andrade, Jacobus P. van Wouwe
PLOS ONE  vol: 12  issue: 10  first page: e0185781  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185781