Weaver Shell | Valencia (EFE) in them there are higher rates of “psychic and emotional exhaustion”, and in them they are of “indolence and cynicism”.
This is what the professor of Social Psychology and Organizations at the University of Valencia (UV) Pedro R. Gil-Monte assured EFE when asked about the case of the resignation of the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinta Ardern, who left office after assuring that he did not have “enough energy” to get on with the job.
Gil-Monte believes that stating that Ardern suffers from the syndrome would be “speculating” without having a prior diagnosis, although he indicates that from the perspective of his commitment to issues such as the pandemic or the Christchurch attacks in 2019 “it is possible that exhaustion due to a excessive work involvement has influenced the decision that has been made, and it could even be ventured that it responds to signs of symptoms of burnout syndrome or ‘burnout’ ».
‘Burnout’, a real syndrome
Burnout syndrome is “something real, a health problem specifically associated with the work context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life,” he says.
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls it “burnout syndrome” and defines it as “a result of chronic stress in the workplace that has not been successfully managed.”
It is characterized by feelings of lack of energy or exhaustion; increased mental distance from work or negative or cynical feelings about work; and a feeling of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.
Although in some countries it is an occupational disease, in Spain it is considered a “work accident”, according to Gil-Monte, who states that its origin is chronic exposure to unhealthy psychosocial working conditions and not for reasons of personal weakness or other personal conditions. Therefore, “it is not something to be ashamed of. It is something outside the ability of individual control.
As he indicates, in the case of workers who are stressed in their job and for whom it is difficult to find a new job, the health problem can intensify over time and the syndrome can lead to more serious illnesses, such as depression. and suicidal ideations.
Similar prevalence, different symptoms
According to Gil-Monte, the world of work has traditionally developed with masculine behavior patterns, a model that is still valid today, and in many work contexts and cultures women are considered “second-order human resources and, sometimes, as properties that can be disposed of”.
“Labor discrimination against women is reflected in facts such as the wage gap, limitations on the development of a career, infantilizing paternalism or sexual and gender-based harassment at work,” he points out, adding that working under these conditions “contributes to the development of the burnout syndrome.
These attitudes “can also come from the people who are served or from the press that does not value the professional qualification of women to the same extent that it values that of men. Some of those situations seem to have been experienced by the New Zealand Prime Minister », she explains.
In labor relations, women develop a “more emotional and human” management style, participatory and collaborative, with the ability to delegate, dialogue, promote teamwork and offer social support, compared to the style used by men, characterized by an orientation to exchange, authority, and competition, “more impersonal and profit-oriented.”
Although the prevalence of the syndrome is similar in both sexes, it depends on the profession in which it is evaluated and differences are observed at the level of the symptoms, since women present higher rates of psychic and emotional exhaustion and men, higher rates of indolence and cynicism.
Professions most affected by ‘burnout’
This health problem develops more frequently in professions that require working with people and in direct contact with them, such as health, education, social services, caregivers, care workers for people with special needs or in health care centers. third age.
In many people, the decision to dedicate themselves to these jobs is determined by a vocational component of helping others and makes them get involved in the problems of the people they care for, and sometimes they feel guilty if they don’t.
“You go from the empathy necessary for these jobs to involvement in other people’s problems, assuming them as your own, to the point of taking other people’s problems home,” warns the expert.