• Being ‘good enough’: perfectionism and well-being in social workers

      Kinman, Gail; Grant, Louise Jane; Birkbeck, University of London; University of Bedfordshire (Oxford University Press, 2022-02-03)
      Perfectionism refers to a tendency to set unrealistically high standards for oneself and others. Although often seen positively, perfectionism can threaten health, relationships and performance. This study examined the effects of three types of maladaptive perfectionism on burnout in 294 UK social workers: self-oriented (having excessively high standards for oneself), other-oriented (having excessively high expectations of others) and socially prescribed (perceiving external pressure to excel). In line with previous research, we predicted that socially prescribed perfectionism would have particularly powerful effects on well-being, but significant relationships with self and other-oriented perfectionism were also expected. We also examined whether maladaptive perfectionism intensified the negative impact of work-related emotional demands on burnout. Significant positive relationships were found between socially prescribed and other-oriented perfectionism and burnout. A higher level of socially prescribed perfectionism was found than self and other-oriented and its relationship with burnout was particularly strong. We found no evidence, however, that perfectionism was an additional risk factor for burnout when emotional demands were high. Early career social workers were found to be at greater risk of dysfunctional perfectionism and burnout. The implications of the findings for the well-being of social workers are considered and potential interventions outlined to reduce maladaptive perfectionism.
    • Enhancing empathy in the helping professions

      Kinman, Gail; Grant, Louise Jane (Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2016-04-01)
      Human empathy is generally considered to be an extension of more ancient mammalian emotional contagion which enables one person to perceive, understand and share some of the emotional and mental states of another person (Watt, 2007). The demonstration of empathy is a pre-requisite for “helping” professionals, such as nurses, social workers, psychotherapists and physicians, as it underpins authentic person-centred care. Nonetheless, the negative implications of “uncontrolled” empathy have been highlighted. This chapter explores the empathy construct in helping contexts and discusses the implications of over- or under-identification with patients and clients for the well-being and performance of helping professionals. Particular focus is placed on the concept of “accurate” empathy which refers to the requirement for helping professionals to forge empathic and authentic connections with patients and clients whilst maintaining clear personal and emotional boundaries. The advantages of utilising extended models of empathy that encompass competencies such as reflective ability, emotional literacy and social competence are discussed. Also considered are ways in which empathic skills can be developed in order to manage the emotional demands inherent in helping professions more effectively.
    • Job demands, resources and work-related well-being in UK firefighters

      Payne, N.; Kinman, Gail; (Oxford University Press, 2020-01-11)
      Background: There is evidence that firefighters are at risk of work-related stress and mental health problems, but little is known about the organizational hazards they experience. Insight is needed into the work-related factors that are most likely to threaten or protect their work-related well-being. Aims: To identify levels of job demands and resources (including demands relating to workload, work patterns and the working environment, relationship conflicts, control, support, role clarity and change management) among firefighters, and to use a job demands-resources framework to examine their impacts on work-related well-being. The role played by recovery strategies in predicting work-related well-being was also considered. Methods: Job demands and resources were assessed by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Management Standards Indicator Tool. Validated scales measured recovery strategies (detachment, affective rumination and problem-solving pondering) and work-related well-being (anxiety-contentment and depression-enthusiasm). The impact of job demands, resources and recovery strategies was tested by multiple linear regression. Results: The sample comprised 909 firefighters across seven Fire and Rescue Services in the UK (85% male). Levels of job demands and resources did not meet HSE benchmarks. The main risk factors for poor work-related well-being were relationship conflicts and affective rumination, but resources such as role clarity and job control and the use of problem-solving pondering and detachment were beneficial. Conclusions: Interventions that aim to reduce relationship conflicts at work and promote problem-solving rather than affective rumination, and detachment from work when off-duty, are likely to improve work-related well-being. Attention to enhancing job resources may also be beneficial.
    • The new ‘nowhere land’: who is responsible for our always on culture?

      McDowall, Almuth; Kinman, Gail; Grant, Christine (2017-01-06)
    • What makes a resilient e-worker?

      Grant, Christine; Kinman, Gail (2017-01-06)
    • Why we can't help working when ill: the perverse causes of presenteeism in the UK, with a focus on prison officers and academics

      Clements, Andrew James; Kinman, Gail; Hart, Jacqui Ann; Wray, Siobhan; University of Bedfordshire; York St. John University (HRZone, 2017-04-01)
      The term ‘presenteeism’ refers to situations where employees continue to attend work while they are sick. In this report we look at why absenteeism policies can encourage presenteeism and how presenteeism presents in two working populations: UK prison officers and UK academics.