Fear of Terrorism Tied to Job Burnout

January 13, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, a new study has provided relevant insight into the relationship between the fear of terrorism and job burnout.

In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, a new study has provided relevant insight into the relationship between the fear of terrorism and job burnout.

Published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the Tel Aviv University researchers’ findings make the case that individuals with strong anxiety over terrorism can experience insomnia, which may lead to not only physical fatigue, but also emotional and mental exhaustion that can ultimately translate to job burnout.

The researchers followed 670 Israeli employees over the span of 7 years, during which time there were a large number of terrorist attacks. The subjects’ feelings of terror, personal safety, tension, workplace support, and signs of burnout and insomnia were measured at 3 time periods. The results of the study suggested that insomnia stemming from the fear of terrorism led to a higher risk of job burnout.

The researchers also found that coworker support helped assuage insomnia and burnout, but supervisor support did not have the same effect.

“Research suggests that exposure to violence, and specifically terrorism, has a negative impact on mental health,” the study authors wrote. “In the case of terrorism, the connection may be particularly salient because of the seeming randomness and unjustness of these types of attacks.”