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Stress and Burnout: Emotional Labor

  • By: Jennifer J. Moreland
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Emotional labor leads to and is caused by stress and/or burnout. For health care workers, as well as patients' family and friends, emotional labor involves the management of verbal and nonverbal behaviors to demonstrate care and concern, provide tangible health care, and assist others during emotional struggles. Emotional labor is necessary, but is not done for “free;” it charges a toll to its performer. Exploration of the communicative behaviors of individuals enduring emotional labor and stress/burnout and the antecedents to and consequences of emotional labor are worthy of health communication endeavors.

Significant research on emotional labor, stress, and burnout exists. Sociologists, management scientists, health professionals, and health communication scholars have theorized on emotional labor in organizational and health contexts. Much of their research is based on ...

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