Model Two: Leiter Model
Individual and Agency Policies and Procedures
The Leiter Model predicts the potential burnout associated with an individual's coping patterns and the function of organizational demands and resources. The aspects of burnout include: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished personal accomplishment, which are all placed in the center of the model. Emotional exhaustion is defined as the "emotional reactions to the stress and tedium a person is experiencing in a human service occupation" (Leiter, 1991 p. 124). Depersonalization is an individual's "unfeeling and callous response toward people who are usually the recipients of one's service or care" (Leiter, 1991, p. 124). Leiter (1991) defines diminished personal accomplishment as "a decline in one's feelings of competence and successful achievement in one's work with people" (p. 124).
Leiter Model Explanation
The way an individual copes with organizational stress determines whether or not they will experience the elements of burnout. Organizational stressors include: work overload and interpersonal conflict. The two types of coping patterns that clinicians can use to handle stress are control coping and escapist coping. Latack (1986, as cited in Leiter, 1991) defines control coping as "consisting of actions and cognitive reappraisals that are proactive, take-charge in tone; and escapist [coping] as consisting of both actions and cognitive reappraisals that suggest an escapist, avoidance mode" (p. 378). Control coping results in lower levels of overall burnout while escapist coping is associated with higher levels of exhaustion and depersonalization. Within the Leiter Model, other variables that affect burnout include: coworker support, skill utilization, and supervisor support, classified as organizational supports. These variables can affect all three levels of burnout which, in turn, can have an effect on a person's organizational commitment.
The Leiter Model explains the extent to which control coping and escapist coping contributes to the prediction of burnout. According to the study that produced this model, escapist coping can actually be associated with higher levels of exhaustion, and is ineffective in avoiding burnout. Since escapist coping can increase levels of exhaustion, this coping method and its patterns should be avoided. On the other hand, control coping is a better way of avoiding emotional exhaustion. For example, this method of coping is a more effective way of addressing stressors because, according to Leiter (1991), control coping and burnout appear to be inversely related—as one increases, the other decreases.
Leiter (1991) concludes that there are three distinct ways in which control coping can prevent burnout by:
- Increasing an individual's capacity to deal with stressful situations
- Contributing to a person's increased self-efficacy within his/her work environment
- Increasing self-appraisal and efficiency consistent with the individual's values.