Mediating Effect of Burnout Dimensions on Musculoskeletal Pain: The Role of Emotional Intelligence and Organisational Identification

Giulia Paganin, Roberta Bonfiglioli, Dina Guglielmi, Francesco S. Violante, Greta Mazzetti
Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline  •  Volume 26  •  2023  •  pp. 263-278

The present study aims to frame the relationship between job and personal resources (namely, organizational identification and emotional intelligence), burnout, and musculoskeletal disorders (i.e., back pain, upper limb pain, lower limb discomfort), into the theoretical framework provided by the JD-R health model.

Empirical research indicates a connection between burnout and the onset of musculoskeletal problems, one of the most important occupational health issues affecting all jobs and organizations. In light of the JD-R health model, we investigated the association between personal and job resources with burnout and musculoskeletal disorders.

An anonymous online questionnaire was answered by 320 workers (82.4% female, Mage = 42.18; SDage = 12.24) investigating their perceived level of burnout, the presence of musculoskeletal pain (back, neck, and shoulder), and their level of organizational identification and emotional intelligence. Descriptive analysis, correlation, and moderated mediation model were performed using SPSS.

We confirmed the role of personal and organizational resources in the salutogenic process considered by the JD-R health model. Emotional intelligence, decreasing the perceived level of burnout, limited the development of musculoskeletal disorders. Moreover, when organizational identification presented low and medium levels, the association between emotional intelligence and burnout strengthened.

Our results showed a negative, indirect effect of emotional intelligence on musculoskeletal disorders via burnout. Moreover, we found a moderation of organizational organization, indicating that at low and medium levels of identification, the association between emotional intelligence and burnout is stronger.

In addition to work factors involved in the link between burnout and musculoskeletal disorders, it is also important to consider personal and emotional factors, which can decrease the occurrence of adverse consequences.

Future research developments could contribute to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms linking emotional intelligence, burnout, and musculoskeletal problems, as well as consider objective indicators of burnout levels or consider using ecological data collection methodologies (e.g., ecological momentary assessment), to identify patterns and associations between burnout and musculoskeletal disorders.

musculoskeletal disorders, burnout, emotional intelligence, organizational identification, JD-R model, salutogenic process
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