It is widely accepted that the current occupational context is a stressful one, especially considering rapid changes in the economic and political environment. Individuals are exposed to higher levels of stress over a longer period of time, which can have serious negative implications. If the stress cannot be tolerated, an individual is at risk of developing an exhaustion-related illness such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Burnout Syndrome. Both Chronic Fatigue and Burnout Syndrome are exhaustion-related phenomena which result from persistent stress. Where Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is characterised primarily as a physical illness, Burnout Syndrome is typically considered psychological. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Burnout Syndrome, as well as the influence of other variables which include job satisfaction, social support, age and gender. Additionally, the study sought to determine the potential prevalence of chronic fatigue and burnout among the sample which was drawn. Quantitative data collection strategies were used, whereby participants completed an online survey consisting of a battery of instruments. A final sample size of 69 participants was achieved. The results show that the population is potentially at risk for both chronic fatigue and burnout, having scored relatively high on the respective scales. In regard to the relationship between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Burnout Syndrome, the study was not able to conclusively demonstrate a significant relationship between the two syndromes. However, there is evidence to suggest various similarities across the syndromes, particularly in regard to the physical components of exhaustion and the number of physical symptoms experienced by individuals. Future research could further explore this finding to determine the extent of that relationship, and whether it could contribute to a re-conceptualisation of exhaustion-related illnesses.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.