Coaching to Preserve Work Ability and Prevent Burnout in Workers with Chronic Illness

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Coaching to Preserve Work Ability and Prevent Burnout in Workers with Chronic Illness

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Summary: 

We tested a 12-week, 6-session, phone-based coaching intervention designed to help individuals working with chronic illness manage challenges related to working with illness. We proposed that coaching would lead to improved work ability perceptions, exhaustion and disengagement burnout, job self-efficacy, core self-evaluations, resilience, mental resources, and job satisfaction, and that these beneficial effects would be stable 12 weeks after coaching ended. Analysis of variance procedures were used to examine group differences in outcomes over time, and paired samples t-tests were used to test for differences in outcomes between post-coaching and 12 weeks later. Fifty-nine full-time workers with chronic illnesses were randomly assigned to either a coaching group or a waitlisted control group. Participants completed online surveys at enrollment, at the start of coaching, after coaching ended, and 12 weeks post-coaching. Compared with the control group, the coaching group showed significantly improved work ability perceptions, exhaustion burnout, core self-evaluations, and resilience - yet no significant improvements were found for job self-efficacy, disengagement burnout, or job satisfaction. No significant differences were found between post-coaching outcomes and those 12 weeks later, which provided evidence for the stability of effects. Results suggest that coaching was helpful in improving the personal well-being of individuals navigating challenges associated with working and managing chronic illness.

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