Care staff who believe in their own effectiveness in dealing with challenges at work are less likely to feel stressed and emotionally "burnt-out".

This is the finding of Dr Jan Oyebode and Brigid Duffy from the University of Birmingham who presented their findings on Friday 6 July 2007, at the Annual Conference for Psychology Specialists Working with Older People (PSIGE) - part of The British Psychological Society - at the University of Nottingham.

The research questioned 61 members of staff in a continuing care home for older people with dementia regarding their commitment to their job, emotional exhaustion and self-worth.

68.6% of those questioned were emotionally exhausted by work but the on average they felt able to cope with the stress. In fact the greater their belief that they could manage situations at work, the less the sense of emotional "burnout".

Dr Oyebode said: "These results imply that beliefs and perceptions of our effectiveness at work are especially important. If we approach challenging work situations with self-belief and self- confidence, we cope more effectively and we are able to retain our interest and motivation at work rather than becoming emotionally exhausted and 'burning out'.

"One implication is that intervening to raise staff's sense of self-worth would make a difference not only to their well-being but also to the care they provide for people with dementia."

British Psychological Society