Orientation: Research that considers the effects of individual characteristics and job characteristics jointly in burnout is necessary, especially when one considers the possibility of curvilinear relationships between job characteristics and burnout.
Research purpose: This study examines the contribution of sense of coherence (SOC) and job characteristics to predicting burnout by considering direct and moderating effects.
Motivation for this study: Understanding the relationships of individual and job characteristics with burnout is necessary for preventing burnout. It also informs the design of interventions.
Research design, approach and method: The participants were 632 working adults (57% female) in South Africa. The measures included the Job Content Questionnaire, the Sense of Coherence Questionnaire and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The authors analysed the data using hierarchical multiple regression with the enter method.
Main findings: Job characteristics and SOC show the expected direct effects on burnout. SOC has a direct negative effect on burnout. Job demands and supervisor social support show nonlinear relationships with burnout. SOC moderates the effect of demands on burnout and has a protective function so that the demands-burnout relationship differs for those with high and low SOC.
Practical/managerial implications: The types of effects, the shape of the stressor-strain relationship and the different contributions of individual and job characteristics have implications for designing interventions.
Contribution/value add: SOC functions differently when combined with demands, control and support. These different effects suggest that it is not merely the presence or absence of a job characteristic that is important for well-being outcomes but how people respond to its presence or absence.