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alization suggest increased feelings of burnout, whereas the third dimension, personal
accomplishment, is inverted. Put another way, when employees felt a sense of
accomplishment and " successful achievement in one's work with people " (Maslach &
Jackson, 1981, p. 101), they experienced less burnout.
RESIDENT ASSISTANT BURNOUT
Much of the scholarly attention to RA burnout occurred in the 1980s (Benedict &
Mondloch, 1989; Fuehrer & McGonagle, 1988; Hetherington et al., 1989; Nowack
et al., 1985; Nowack & Hanson, 1983), with limited scholarship since then (e.g.,
Hardy & Dodd, 1998; Paladino et al., 2005). Recent research has revealed that RAs
choosing not to continue their employment the following year had significantly
higher depersonalization scores and significantly lower personal accomplishment
scores (Stoner, 2017). Similar to others in service-oriented jobs, RAs work daily
with large numbers of people (Denzine & Anderson, 1999), but there is a profound
difference in the RAs' work environment and the existing relationships in
their position when compared to those in other service-oriented disciplines such
as nursing and teaching; these differences are reflected in how RAs " live and work
with people 24 hours a day. They live and work with peers, students, and supervisors
in an environment where it is difficult to distinguish work from personal time "
(Hetherington et al., 1989, p. 266). Such an environment emphasizes the importance
of relationships within the job, since RAs live where they work and work where
they live.
The existing research on RA burnout neglects to specifically address the relational
component of the RA job and how RAs' relationships with their residents affect their
levels of burnout. Nowack and colleagues (1985) came close to addressing this gap by reporting
that RAs who were more satisfied with their social support network experienced
higher personal accomplishment and lower depersonalization, but this study did not
intend to specifically address the relationships between RAs and their residents because
the term social support network was never defined in the study. This network may have
included family members, friends outside their residential community, and even people
outside the institution. Therefore, additional research is necessary to fill this gap.
THE CONCEPT OF MATTERING
One framework that may address the identified relationship gap in RA burnout literature
is the concept of mattering, components of which are all based on relationships
with surrounding individuals (Dixon & Tucker, 2008), such as people in residential
communities. People who perceive that they matter feel that others notice and pay
attention to them (Rosenberg & McCullough, 1981), invest in their well-being (France
& Finney, 2010), and rely on them (Elliott et al., 2004). Conversely, " if people do not
share themselves meaningfully with us, if no one listens to what we have to say, if we
are interesting to no one, then we must cope with the realization that we do not matter "
(Elliott et al., 2004, p. 339).
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - intro
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