Model Three: Burnout Contagion
Individual and Collegial Relationships
At the core of the Burnout Contagion Model are two variables: emotional exhaustion and negative work-related attitudes. This model is centered around the notion that negative work-related attitudes are "contagious" (Bakker, et al. 2001) and have a deleterious effect on individual workers. This means that when colleagues have "negative feelings, cynical attitudes, or impaired job behaviors," this can have an effect on their co-workers, who in turn, may develop symptoms of burnout.
Bakker, et al. (2001) defines burnout as a reaction to occupational stress due to demanding and highly emotional relationships between human service professionals and their clients. In this model, emotional exhaustion or energy depletion is considered the core symptom of burnout. The Burnout Contagion Model depicts a relationship between emotional exhaustion and emotional contagion. Emotional contagion is defined as an individual's tendency to mimic another person's "facial expressions, vocalizations, postures, and movements" which results in the individual converging emotionally (Bakker, 2001 pg. 84). Therefore, the negative attitudes and behaviors of some can impact the perceptions and behaviors of others, even leading to burnout.