Prevalence of burnout syndrome and its health impact on accountants at the University of Nairobi
Introduction: Burnout has been consistently linked to physiological and affective outcomes as well as organizational consequences. The study sought to determine the existence of burnout and its probable health consequence son ; low-emotional jobs’ such as that of accountants. The concern for doing this study arose from the fact that the accountant has a delicate role to maintain a balance between the interest of the enterprise, stakeholders and self; with each group exerting their unique demands and pressure. General objective: the objective of the study was to determine the prevalence rate and factors associated with burnout syndrome among accountants at the University ofNairobi. Specific objectives: the specific objectives were to determine the prevalence of burnout among accountants and compare this across the various sections with in the Finance department and levels of accountants. Also to determine the relationship between burnout syndrome and accountants tenure of office, level of professional education and health. Design: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study. Study setting: The study was conducted in all the sections of the Finance Department within Main Campus, Colleges, Student Welfare Authority, University Flealth Services, and the University of Nairobi Entrepreneurial Services Ltd (UNES). Method: All the 173 accounting staff within the department were requested to participate, however only 95 agreed, 31 declined, 6 delayed in returning their questionnaires while 41 could not be traced. The Maslach Burnout Inventory General survey and the General Health Questionnaire were used. Data collected was entered and analysed using SPSS computer software version 11.5 by applying descriptive and inferential statistics Results: the prevalence rate for burnout was 100%; with 27.4% of respondents having low burnout and 72.6% having high burnout , consequently 18.9% of the respondents had varying levels of psychological distress as measured by GHQ-12. The risk factors included workload, role in the organisation, relationships at work, work location / section and the level of academic and professional education. Conclusion: burnout was established among accountants and the contributing job stressors were also identified as well as the consequent effect on the accountants’ health. The study established that the syndrome had not been known to the study population before and how it was influencing their output at work and at their personal levels of functioning. Implications: It is hoped that the outcome of the study will increase the Accountants knowledge about, and understanding of stress. Further, the study will lead to the development of a stress health promotion model that will benefit members of staff at the University of Nairobi. Recommendations: that staff should be assed according to mutually agreed target between an employee and supervisor; the University should explore possibilities of flexible work arrangements in addition to hiring of part-time employees. Further longitudinal studies on burnout in a Kenyan organizational context would enable benchmark against local organizations and would provide useful information to managers.
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