The aim of this study was to explore work engagement and job burnout within the disability support worker (DSW) population, using the job demands-resources (JD-R) model as a guiding theory. The research measured a set of work-related demands and resources related to working within the disability sector in order to assess which demands/resources account for a significant portion of unique variance when used to model DSW engagement and burnout. This study sampled 258 DSWs from across Australia who completed an online or paper questionnaire that included measures of engagement, burnout and the demands/resources of interest. With regard to demands, role ambiguity was significantly associated with the three engagement scores and the three burnout scores. It also accounted for the most unique variance in the three engagement scores (vigour [VI], dedication [DE] and absorption [AB]), and the personal accomplishment (PA) burnout score. With regard to resources, job feedback was significantly associated with two of the engagement scores (VI and DE) and all three burnout scores. It accounted for the most unique variance in VI and DE, and PA. In conclusion, this research adds to the existing disability workforce literature as it represents one of the first comprehensive investigations of work engagement within this population. Improved job descriptions, on-the-job feedback and the creation of specialist support workers are offered as recommendations to improve the psychosocial health of DSWs.
- Disability support workers
- Work engagement