Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


A Quantitative Investigation of Job Demands, Job Resources, and Exposure to Trauma on Burnout in Certain Student Affairs Professionals

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Maureen E. Wilson (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Patrick D. Pauken (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Jessica M. Turos (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Mary Jon Ludy (Other)


Student affairs professionals help students who experience trauma. Repeated and prolonged traumatic exposure has significant adverse effects on other helping professionals; burnout is one consequence of trauma exposure. Burnout as a construct has not been quantitatively researched in the student affairs profession recently. This study provides a new way to investigate burnout: by looking at the role of job demands, job resources, and exposure to trauma. Through an anonymous survey, 883 student affairs professionals reported their levels of job demands, job resources, exposure to trauma, and burnout. In addition to descriptive statistics, t-test, ANOVA, and regression analyses were conducted. Professionals with high job demands and low job resources are susceptible to burnout. Exposure to trauma significantly contributed to burnout scores and certain professionals are more susceptible to burnout than others; however, student affairs professionals in various functional areas experienced burnout. The results of this study confirm that helping professionals experience burnout and need more resources to continue this work. These findings can be used by institutions of higher education to inform supervision, training, hiring, and retaining these skilled professionals.