8.1. What is Caregiver Burnout?

Back to Introduction         Next


“Gosh. . . I’m really drained. . .”


The Caregiver Burnout was first coined in 1974 by Freudenberger, when he was working in a rehabilitation clinic for drug addicts in the USA. He noticed that volunteers often manifested burnout and demotivation, after a year working with the clinic’s patients.

   Freudenberger said that the Caregiver Burnout was:

“A feeling of failure and a worn-out or worn-out existence resulting from an overtaxing of the worker’s energies, personal resources or spiritual strength.” (Freudenberger, 1974)

   Maaslach and Jackson defined it as:

“A three-dimensional syndrome characterised by emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced personal fulfilment.” (Maslach and Jackson, 1981)

Emotional exhaustion
A physical overexertion and emotional exhaustion that occur as a result of the continuous interactions that workers must have with each other as well as with clients.
Development of cynical attitudes and responses towards the people to whom the workers provide their services.
Reduced self-fulfilment
The loss of confidence in self-fulfilment and the presence of a negative self-concept as a result, often unnoticed, of unpleasant situations
As we have already seen, the life of a caregiver changes radically as a result of the responsibility and dedication required, which produces a major change in their quality of life. The caregiver needs to assume the responsibility of meeting their cared ones’ needs, which become increasingly overwhelming.

Caregiver Burnout produces profound emotional and physical exhaustion when living with and caring for a dependent person, due to continuous exposure to highly demanding factors that end up absorbing their personal life. They are subject to continuous chronic stress as a result of the aggravating illness of the cared person and the involvement of monotonous and repetitive tasks.

García Izquierdo (1991) pointed out that the burnout is a problem that is characteristic of the so-called human services. For this reason, one of the characteristics of the syndrome is the emotional wear and tear that this interaction produces in the worker.

This situation of prolonged stress is very damaging for the caregiver, experiencing a deep sense of frustration and can lead to severe depression.
Back to Introduction         Next

progress bar

Burnout, Depression and Social Exclusion of the Caregiver:
10% complete