Given the detrimental effects of burnout for individuals and organizations, it is of crucial importance to better understand the self-initiated actions employees take to prevent burnout. While such proactive burnout prevention is likely to reduce burnout complaints, these activities may also be frustrated by high burnout levels. This means that proactive burnout prevention and burnout can negatively affect each other over time. The present study used a four-wave longitudinal panel design to investigate temporal relationships between proactive burnout prevention and burnout over 3, 6 and 9 weeks. Participants were 165 employees in the financial services industry who provided data on all four measurement occasions. The outcomes of structural equation modelling provided support for the hypothesized combined effects model compared to the lagged and reversed effects models. The findings suggest that proactive burnout prevention can help to prevent burnout, while engagement in these behaviours may be hindered by high initial levels of burnout. Employees should therefore intervene before their resource pool becomes too depleted and they lack the energy or mental strength to invest resources, in order to proactively retain or regain resources.
- proactive behaviours
- temporal relationship