Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lizano, Erica


Burnout is a prominent issue among the social work profession. Methods to mitigate the effects of burnout have received considerable attention in social work research. This study focuses on a potential method of coping with burnout; volunteerism. While literature is scarce regarding the effects of volunteerism on burnout rates among social workers, studies in related fields such as nursing, public-sector public administrators, and nonprofit workers indicate that volunteerism has potential benefits against burnout. This study’s purpose is to determine whether involvement in volunteer service is related to lower rates of burnout among social workers. This quantitative study uses data from a non-random purposive sample of 442 social workers who completed a survey posted on the social work board of an online forum, Reddit and the networking site, LinkedIn. Survey questions captured participants’ demographic, volunteerism, and burnout rates using the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS). Analysis of the data led to findings which do not support the original hypothesis of this study or the available literature. A plausible explanation is, that for social workers, the volunteer work is so like their profession that engaging in volunteerism does not provide the respite necessary for recovery from the effects of burnout.

Included in

Social Work Commons