Aim: This study investigated the mediating role of intrinsic motivation in the relationship of job demands and job resources with burnout vs. work engagement. In addition, we examined if job resources strengthen the positive relationship of job demands with intrinsic motivation and burnout (moderating effect).
Results: Using a sample of direct care nurses (n= 1729) from 14 acute care hospitals in Belgium it was found that job resources are positively associated work motivation and work engagement and negatively with burnout, whereas job demands are positively associated with burnout. Furthermore, our results confirmed that – as hypothesized – intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship of job resources with work engagement and burnout, whereas job resources moderate the relationship of job demands with burnout. That is, especially when job resources are abundant, intrinsic motivation is positively related to work engagement. However, against expectations, we found no associations between job demands and intrinsic motivation or a moderation effect of job resources on this relationship.
Conclusions: A highly demanding work environment can be a source of significant stress which may put nurses’ health at severe risk. Nurses who perceive sufficient job resources such as feedback, autonomy and opportunities for growth and development, are likely to feel intrinsically motivated at work. In its turn, this will foster their work engagement and prevent them from burning out, particularly when job demands are high