Job-related burnout among juvenile probation officers: Implications for mental health stigma and competency

Laura M. White, Matthew C. Aalsma, Evan D. Holloway, Erin L. Adams, Michelle P. Salyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


The high demands and responsibilities of probation work, particularly with juvenile clients, may lead to burnout, which can negatively impact how probation officers work with clients, particularly individuals with behavioral health concerns. Yet, research examining burnout and related outcomes among juvenile probation officers (JPOs) is limited. We surveyed 246 JPOs in a Midwestern state to identify the prevalence, predictors, and potential outcomes of burnout. JPOs reported moderate levels of burnout; about 30% of the sample scored in the high range for emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Contrary to study hypotheses, there were no group-level differences in burnout scores across gender, race/ethnicity, age, or education. In regression models, burnout was predicted by being White (vs. minority), serving in an urban (vs. rural) county, dissatisfaction with department guidelines, job dissatisfaction, viewing job role as more treatment-oriented along the enforcement-treatment continuum, and turnover intention. JPOs with burnout were more likely to endorse mental health stigma and lack of mental health competency to address juvenile clients with behavioral health concerns. Findings suggest burnout prevention and intervention programs should be considered for JPOs to increase job satisfaction, limit job turnover, reduce burnout, and possibly increase effective practices for managing juvenile clients with behavioral health needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-302
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Burnout
  • Juvenile justice
  • Mental health competency
  • Probation officers
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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