First Advisor

John F. Longres

Term of Graduation

Spring 1981

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Social workers -- Oregon -- Willamette River Valley, Burn out (Psychology)



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 118 pages)


In a profession such as social work, where one is responsible for dealing with the ills of society and meeting the needs of other individuals, such emotional detachment and estrangement from others is antithetical to the purpose of the field and eminently destructive to those seeking and needing assistance. With the current push for accountability, factors such as burnout or alienation from one's work become of crucial importance. In addition, burnout leads to a high rate of absenteeism and job turnover (Minihan, 1980). This too decreases cost effectiveness and the quality of service, matters of extreme concern in a field designed to serve the needs of individuals in society and to do so on limited funds and resources.

Thus, alienation is of paramount importance to the field of social services and can no longer be ignored or relegated to a back seat in terms of study and research. Current literature in the field of social work deals only with the subjective expression of alienation; it has omitted linking the psychological with the social-structural aspects of alienation: indeed, with linking burnout to alienation itself. This study proposes to begin to fill this gap. What conditions in the structure of the work place and/or society cause or are correlated with the expression of alienation? It is this question which we endeavor to pursue.


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