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Family child care providers' self -reported perceptions of *isolation, autonomy and burnout

Sharon A Roth, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study examined the demographics, self-perceived autonomy and isolation of the work, and level of burnout of the family child care provider. This was done by surveying the 249 licensed small group family child care providers of New Hampshire. The analysis is based on 71 participants who represented a 28.5% return. The Family Child Care Provider Work Conditions Survey assessed her self-perceptions of the autonomous and isolating factors of the job. Levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, personal accomplishment and burnout ranking were measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey. Demographic information was gathered. Participants were female, European American and married. Most were 31 to 50 years old, 71.8% had some to four years of college, and 46.4% had children of their own under 10 years old. They worked for an average of 12.78 years with a span of one to forty years. Their workday ranged from 3 to 12.5 hours with an average of 10 hours. The characteristics of this sample were contrasted to Kontos' 1992 review of the family child care provider literature. Results demonstrated that the majority reported low burnout profiles. Correlations were evident between several of the perceptions of autonomy and isolation and the burnout subscales. Those participants reporting moderate to high emotional exhaustion were more likely to feel lonely, wish for more contact with other providers, to share responsibilities with other adults and for more time to themselves during the day. Participants reporting moderate to high depersonalization were also likely to report this. Those with high feelings of personal accomplishment were more likely to report rarely feeling lonely, and scored high on the degree to which they liked being their own boss. Those providers reporting a high sense of accomplishment were also those likely to be experiencing little role conflict and an internal locus of control. Results were also discussed in terms of what factors of their work may be moderating the high demands of this job. Implications included suggesting research into understanding when and how the family child care provider chooses to define her work as a career choice.

Subject Area

Preschool education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Roth, Sharon A, "Family child care providers' self -reported perceptions of *isolation, autonomy and burnout" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3136774.