Three-way Interactions of Workload, Social Support and Coping Strategy on Job Burnout

Main Article Content

Sudathip Woranetipo
Jennifer Chavanovanich


Job burnout is an occupational phenomenon that can have a major impact on physical and mental health and job performance. Accordingly, this research examined (a) workload as a job demand and (b) social support in the workplace and problem-focused coping strategy as a job resource and personal resource, respectively. The purpose of this study was to test the buffering effect of social support in the workplace and problem-focused coping strategy on the relationship between workload and job burnout. Data were collected by an online survey from 260 civil servants in the government sector in Thailand. The results showed significant three-way interactions (β = -1.82, p < 0.05) in which the positive effect of workload on job burnout is diminished when civil servants have a high level of social support in the workplace and a high level of problem-focused coping strategy. The findings provide a theoretical implication by examining the interaction of job and personal resources as a buffering effect on the positive relationship between workload and job burnout. Practical implications for organizational development are shared as potential mechanism for the reduction of burnout, particularly in managing well-being in work-related stressful situations.

Article Details

How to Cite
Woranetipo, S., & Chavanovanich, J. (2021). Three-way Interactions of Workload, Social Support and Coping Strategy on Job Burnout. The Journal of Behavioral Science, 16(1), 58-72. Retrieved from
Research Articles


Ahola, K., Honkonen, T., Virtanen, M., Aromaa, A., & Lönnqvist, J. (2008). Burnout in relation to age in the adult working population. Journal of Occupational Health, 50(4), 362-365.
Aiken, L. S., West, S. G., & Reno, R. R. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Sage.
Akca, M., & Küçükoğlu, M. T. (2020). Relationships between Mental Workload, Burnout, and Job Performance: A Research among Academicians. In Realyvásquez-Vargas, A., Arredondo-Soto, K. C., Hernández-Escobedo, G., & González-Reséndiz, J. (Eds.), Evaluating Mental Workload for Improved Workplace Performance (pp. 49-68). IGI Global. http://doi:10.4018/978-1-7998-1052-0.ch003
Alarcon, G. M. (2011). A meta-analysis of burnout with job demands, resources, and attitudes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79(2), 549-562.
Avanzi, L., Fraccaroli, F., Castelli, L., Marcionetti, J., Crescentini, A., Balducci, C., & van Dick, R. (2018). How to mobilize social support against workload and burnout: The role of organizational identification. Teaching and Teacher Education, 69, 154-167.
Bakker, A. B., & de Vries, J. D. (2020). Job Demands–Resources theory and self-regulation: new explanations and remedies for job burnout. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 1-21. 0.1797695
Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2017). Job Demands-Resources Theory: Taking stock and looking forward. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22(3), 273-285.
Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Euwema, M. C. (2005). Job resources buffer the impact of job demands on burnout. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 10(2), 170-180.
Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Sanz-Vergel, A. I. (2014). Burnout and Work Engagement: The JD–R Approach. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1(1), 389-411.
Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., de Boer, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2003). Job demands and job resources as predictors of absence duration and frequency. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62(2), 341-356.
Baumstarck, K., Alessandrini, M., Hamidou, Z., Auquier, P., Leroy, T., & Boyer, L. (2017). Assessment of coping: A new french four-factor structure of the brief COPE inventory. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 15(1), 8.
Beltrán, C. A. (2009). Social support, burnout syndrome and occupational exhaustion among Mexican traffic police agents. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 12(2), 585-592. 10.1017/S11387416000 01955
Bermejo-Toro, L., Prieto-Ursúa, M., & Hernández, V. (2016). Towards a model of teacher well-being: Personal and job resources involved in teacher burnout and engagement. Educational Psychology, 36(3), 481-501.
Brislin, R. W. (1980). Translation and content analysis of oral and written material. In H. C. Triandis, & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural psychology (pp. 389-444). Allyn and Bacon.
Carver, C. S. (1997). You want to measure coping but your protocol’too long: Consider the brief cope. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4(1), 92.
Charoensukmongkol, P., Moqbel, M., Gutierrez-Wirsching, S., & Shankar, R. (2016). The role of coworker and supervisor support on job burnout and job satisfaction. Journal of Advances in Management Research, 13(1).
Chou, P. (2015). The effects of workplace social support on employee’s subjective well-being. European Journal of Business and Management, 7(6), 8-19.
Dawson, J. F., & Richter, A. W. (2006). Probing three-way interactions in moderated multiple regression: Development and application of a slope difference test. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(4), 917–926.
Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Leiter, M. (2014). Burnout and job performance: The moderating role of selection, optimization, and compensation strategies. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19(1), 96.
Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 499-512.
Demerouti, E., Veldhuis, W., Coombes, C., & Hunter, R. (2019). Burnout among pilots: Psychosocial factors related to happiness and performance at simulator training. Ergonomics, 62(2), 233-245.
Devereux, J. M., Hastings, R. P., Noone, S. J., Firth, A., & Totsika, V. (2009). Social support and coping as mediators or moderators of the impact of work stressors on burnout in intellectual disability support staff. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 30(2), 367-377.
Dewi, R. S., & Riana, I. G. (2019). The Effect of Workload on Role Stress and Burnout. Journal of Multidisciplinary Academic, 3(3), 1-5.
Dimunová, L., & Nagyová, I. (2012). The relationship between burnout and the length of work experience in nurses and midwives in the Slovak Republic. Profese Online, 5(1), 1-4.
Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Buchner, A., & Lang, A.-G. (2009). Statistical power analyses using G* Power 3.1: Tests for correlation and regression analyses. Behavior Research Methods, 41(4), 1149-1160.
Frydenberg, E. (1997). Adolescent coping: Theoretical and research perspectives. Psychology Press.
Ghane, G., Farahani, M. A., Seyedfatemi, N., & Haghani, H. (2016). Effectiveness of problem-focused coping strategies on the burden on caregivers of hemodialysis patients. Nursing and Midwifery Studies, 5(2), 1-11.
Halbesleben, J. R., & Buckley, M. R. (2004). Burnout in organizational life. Journal of Management, 30(6), 859-879.
Halbesleben, J. R., & Buckley, R. M. (2006). Social comparison and burnout: The role of relative burnout and received social support. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 19(3), 259-278.
Himle, D. P., Jayaratne, S., & Thyness, P. (1991). Buffering effects of four social support types on burnout among social workers. Social Work Research and Abstracts, 27(1), 22-27.
Hobfoll, S. E., Johnson, R. J., Ennis, N., & Jackson, A. P. (2003). Resource loss, resource gain, and emotional outcomes among inner city women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(3), 632– 643.
Hombrados-Mendieta, I., & Cosano-Rivas, F. (2013). Burnout, workplace support, job satisfaction and life satisfaction among social workers in Spain: A structural equation model. International Social Work, 56(2), 228-246.
Janssen, P. P., Peeters, M. C., de Jonge, J., Houkes, I., & Tummers, G. E. (2004). Specific relationships between job demands, job resources and psychological outcomes and the mediating role of negative work–home interference. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65(3), 411-429.
Karasek, Jr., R. A. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: Implications for job redesign. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(2), 285-308.
Keeton, K., Fenner, D. E., Johnson, T. R., & Hayward, R. A. (2007). Predictors of physician career satisfaction, work–life balance, and burnout. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 109(4), 949-955.
Khan, F., Rasli, A. M., Yasir, M., & Khan, Q. (2019). Interaction effect of social support: The effect of workload on job burnout among universities academicians: Case of Pakistan. International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies, 10(13), 1-13.
Langford, C. P. H., Bowsher, J., Maloney, J. P., & Lillis, P. P. (1997). Social support: A conceptual analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25(1), 95-100.
Lasalvia, A., Bonetto, C., Bertani, M., Bissoli, S., Cristofalo, D., Marrella, G., Ceccato, E., Cremonese, C., De Rossi, M., & Lazzarotto, L. (2009). Influence of perceived organisational factors on job burnout: survey of community mental health staff. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 195(6), 537-544.
Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. Springer Publishing Company.
Lee, R. T., & Ashforth, B. E. (1996). A meta-analytic examination of the correlates of the three dimensions of job burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(2), 123-133.
Lee, S. K., & Lee, W. (2001). Coping with job stress in industries: A cognitive approach. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries, 11(3), 255-268.
Maslach, C. (2001). What have we learned about burnout and health?. Psychology & Health, 16(5), 607-611.
Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2007). Burnout. In G. Fink (Ed.) Encyclopedia of stress
(pp. 358-362). Elsevier. /10.1016/B978-0-12-800951-2.00044-3
Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2016). Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry. World Psychiatry, 15(2), 103-111.
Maslach, C., & Schaufeli, W. B. (1993). Historical and conceptual development of burnout. In W. B. Schaufeli, C. Maslach, & T. Marek (Eds.), Series in applied psychology: Social issues and questions. Professional burnout: Recent developments in theory and research (p. 1–16). Taylor & Francis.
Maslach, C., Jackson, S. E., & Leiter, M. P. (1997). Maslach Burnout Inventory (3rd ed.). In C. P. Zalaquett, & R. J. Wood (Eds.), Evaluating stress: A book of resources (pp. 191–218). Scarecrow Education.
Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 397-422. 10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.397
Mauno, S., Minkkinen, J., Tsupari, H., Huhtala, M., & Feldt, T. (2019). Do older employees suffer more from work intensification and other intensified job demands? Evidence from upper white-collar workers. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 4(1), 1-13.
Mayo, M., Sanchez, J. I., Pastor, J. C., & Rodriguez, A. (2012). Supervisor and coworker support: a source congruence approach to buffering role conflict and physical stressors. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(18), 3872-3889.
Novais, R. N. D., Rocha, L., Eloi, R. J., Santos, L. M. D., Ribeiro, M. V. M. R., Ramos, F. W. D. S., Lima, F. J. C. D., Sousa-Rodrigues, C. F. D., & Barbosa, F. T. (2016). Burnout Syndrome prevalence of on-call surgeons in a trauma reference hospital and its correlation with weekly workload: Cross-sectional study. Revista do Colégio Brasileiro de Cirurgiões, 43(5), 314-319.
Ogoma, S. O. (2020). Problem-focused coping controls burnout in medical students: The case of a selected medical school in Kenya. Journal of Psychology, 8(1), 69-79.
Rosse, J. G. (1988). Relations among lateness, absence, and turnover: Is there a progression of withdrawal? Human Relations, 41(7), 517-531.
Savicki, V. (2002). Burnout across thirteen cultures: Stress and coping in child and youth care workers. Praeger Westport, CT.
Schaufeli, W. B., & Taris, T. W. (2014). A critical review of the job demands-resources model: Implications for improving work and health. In Bridging occupational, organizational and public health (pp. 43-68). Springer.
Schaufeli, W. B., Leiter, M. P., & Maslach, C. (2009). Burnout: 35 years of research and practice. Career Development International, 14(3), 204-220.
Siu, O.-l., Spector, P. E., & Cooper, C. L. (2006). A three-phase study to develop and validate a Chinese coping strategies scales in Greater China. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(3), 537-548.
Śliwiński, Z., Starczyńska, M., Kotela, I., Kowalski, T., Kryś-Noszczyk, K., Lietz-Kijak, D., Kijak, E., & Makara-Studzińska, M. (2014). Burnout among physiotherapists and length of service. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental health, 27(2), 224-235.
Sloan, M. M., Evenson Newhouse, R. J., & Thompson, A. B. (2013). Counting on coworkers: Race, social support, and emotional experiences on the job. Social Psychology Quarterly, 76(4), 343-372.
Soelton, M., Lestari, P. A., Arief, H., & Putra, R. L. (2020). The effect of role conflict and burnout toward turnover intention at software industries, work stress as moderating variables. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Management, Economics and Business (ICMEB 2019) (pp.185-190). 00205.034
Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Principal components and factor analysis. Using Multivariate Statistics, 4(1), 582-633.
Van den Brande, W., Baillien, E., De Witte, H., Vander Elst, T., & Godderis, L. (2016). The role of work stressors, coping strategies and coping resources in the process of workplace bullying: A systematic review and development of a comprehensive model. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 29, 61-71.
Van den Hombergh, P., Künzi, B., Elwyn, G., van Doremalen, J., Akkermans, R., Grol, R., & Wensing, M. (2009). High workload and job stress are associated with lower practice performance in general practice: An observational study in 239 general practices in the Netherlands. BMC Health Services Research, 9(1), 1-8.
Van Veldhoven, M., & Meijman, T. (1994). Het meten van psychosociale arbeidsbelasting met een vragenlijst: De vragenlijst beleving en beoordeling van de arbeid (VBBA). [The Measurement of Psychosocial Job Demands With a Questionnaire: The Questionnaire on the Experience and Evaluation of Work (QEEW)]. NIA.
Van Woerkom, M., Bakker, A. B., & Nishii, L. H. (2016). Accumulative job demands and support for strength use: Fine-tuning the job demands-resources model using conservation of resources theory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(1), 141-150.
Velando‐Soriano, A., Ortega‐Campos, E., Gómez‐Urquiza, J. L., Ramírez‐Baena, L., De La Fuente, E. I., & Cañadas‐De La Fuente, G. A. (2020). Impact of social support in preventing burnout syndrome in nurses: A systematic review. Japan Journal of Nursing Science, 17(1), e12269.
Watson, A. G., McCoy, J. V., Mathew, J., Gundersen, D. A., & Eisenstein, R. M. (2019). Impact of physician workload on burnout in the emergency department. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 24(4), 414-428.
Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2007). The role of personal resources in the job demands-resources model. International Journal of Stress Management, 14(2), 121-141.
Yip, B., Rowlinson, S., & Siu, O. L. (2008). Coping strategies as moderators in the relationship between role overload and burnout. Construction Management and Economics, 26(8), 871-882.