G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
“Back on the right track”: rehabilitees' and their spouses' experiences of burnout and recovery (2021)
”Takaisin oikeille raiteille” : kuntoutujien ja puolisoiden kokemukset työuupumuksesta ja siitä toipumisesta

Salminen, S. (2021). “Back on the right track”: rehabilitees' and their spouses' experiences of burnout and recovery [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 366. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8588-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsSalminen, Stela


Journal or seriesJYU Dissertations


Publication year2021

Number in series366

Number of pages in the book1 verkkoaineisto (103 sivua, 36 sivua useina sivunumerointijaksoina)

PublisherJyväskylän yliopisto

Place of PublicationJyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Persistent website addresshttp://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8588-2

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel


The aim of this dissertation was to explore rehabilitation participants’ subjective experiences of recovery from burnout from a short- and long-term perspective. A further aim was to investigate spouses’ experiences of rehabilitees’ burnout and recovery. The participants in the research were recruited in a rehabilitation centre in Central Finland. Burnout was defined as a stress-related syndrome characterized by exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced professional efficacy. Study I studied rehabilitation participants’ (n = 12) experiences of recovery during a rehabilitation course. The results of the content analysis showed that recovery was a cumulative process in which rehabilitation participants gained support, achieved increased awareness of the burnout symptoms, self-approval and selfmercy, and culminated in regained joy. The revelation that they were in charge of their own well-being found expression in the main theme, My Well-Being in My Hands. Study II utilized a longitudinal design and analysed the narratives of four rehabilitation participants two years after rehabilitation. Personal agency, supervisor support and personal factors were found to be common elements in the narratives of recovery. A change of job was not decisive to maintaining recovery; instead, favourable changes in the workplace were of greater importance. Study III investigated spouses’ (n = 10) experiences of rehabilitees’ burnout and recovery. The results of thematic analysis demonstrated that burnout had a significant impact on the spouses and on the interspousal relationship. The spouses played a crucial role in supporting the burnt-out spouse both emotionally and in practical terms, but experienced considerable distress in the process. Regarding the interspousal relationship, stagnation was seen as the most deleterious consequence of burnout. However, the spouses stressed their commitment to the relationship and shared positive outcomes as a result of the hardship overcome. All in all, rehabilitation was an important factor that initiated recovery. Agency and support from the supervisor were essential for the recovery to stay on course. Burnout had an impact on people connected to the burnt-out individuals. Spouses and other family members should hence be taken into consideration when planning burnout interventions as their well-being is also affected. In the future, focus can be placed on those outside the realm of an intervention as they seem to be in the most vulnerable position.

Keywordsworking lifeexhaustionrehabilitationreturn to healthmental well-beingcouple relationshipsupportingdoctoral dissertations

Free keywordsburnout; recovery; rehabilitation; spouses; qualitative research; content analysis; narrative analysis; thematic analysis

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:16