Burnout among summer camp staff supporting people with intellectual disability and aggression

Clara Ko, Yona Lunsky, Jennifer Hensel, Carolyn S Dewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Studies have shown that there is an association between exposure to people with intellectual disability who are aggressive and burnout in the staff who support them. Little is known, however, about the experience of summer camp staff who work with this population. This study examined the relationship between aggression and burnout in 169 staff members working at summer camps in Ontario, Canada. The questionnaire used included demographic information, exposure to aggression (frequency and severity), and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey. Results showed that summer camp staff was exposed to frequent and relatively severe aggression. Severe exposure was associated with higher levels of emotional exhaustion and personal accomplishment. Given that summer camp staff is likely to be exposed to at least some aggression in their summer job, and that this aggression is associated with burnout, greater attention should be paid to training and supporting staff for when aggression occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-485
Number of pages7
JournalIntellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Burnout
  • Caregivers
  • Summer camp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Community and Home Care
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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