A1 Journal article (refereed)
Spouses’ Experiences of Rehabilitees’ Burnout and Recovery (2021)

Salminen, S., Mäkikangas, A., Kykyri, V.-L., Saari, E.-L., & Pekkonen, M. (2021). Spouses’ Experiences of Rehabilitees’ Burnout and Recovery. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 6(1), Article 4. https://doi.org/10.16993/sjwop.139

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Salminen, Stela; Mäkikangas, Anne; Kykyri, Virpi-Liisa; Saari, Eeva-Liisa; Pekkonen, Mika

Journal or series: Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology

eISSN: 2002-2867

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 6

Issue number: 1

Article number: 4

Publisher: Stockholm University Press

Publication country: Sweden

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/sjwop.139

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77063


The role of family members’ support in the burnout recovery process has been recognized in several studies. The role of emotional support provided by the spouse has been found to be significant in reducing burnout levels. Although crossover of burnout and emotional support have been investigated, the partners’ experiences of the individuals’ burnout and recovery have remained largely unexplored. To fill this research gap the study aims to provide in-depth knowledge of the experiences of spouses of individuals who have a history of burnout and are recovering from it by participating in a rehabilitation course. Ten spouses of individuals who had previously suffered and had recovered or was recovering from burnout in a national rehabilitation course, were interviewed. Semi-structured interviews comprised the main research material and were subjected to Thematic Analysis. Results showed that spouses were vicariously affected by the individuals’ burnout and recovery. While they were able to provide significant support, especially if interspousal communication was well-functioning, they also experienced significant distress. In the recovery phase, the positive changes in the individuals’ well-being were transferred in the relationship, and were perceived by both spouses as an increased ease, shared activities and improvement in communication. Knowledge of the spouses’ experiences will allow their possible inclusion in the rehabilitation programme and their training in recognizing the symptoms of burnout in their close ones. This will enable individuals and their spouses to be better equipped to prevent the full development of burnout and to initiate a timely search for professional help.

Keywords: exhaustion; return to health; mental support; social support; family members; spouses; couple relationship; experiences (knowledge); well-being; mental well-being

Free keywords: burnout; recovery; spouses; rehabilitation; thematic analysis

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:31