Extensive evidence indicates that burnout can have detrimental consequences for individuals as well as organizations; therefore, there is a great need for burnout prevention. While burnout prevention interventions initiated by the employer have previously been studied, the proactive behaviors employees deploy themselves to prevent burnout have received less research attention. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative interview study was to enhance our understanding of the self-initiated actions employees undertake to prevent burnout, using the model of proactive motivation and conservation of resources theory as theoretical frameworks. Findings indicated that most participants reported to engage in specific kinds of proactive burnout prevention behaviors. The reported self-initiated proactive actions were aimed at maintaining and/or increasing resources and/or reducing demands in the work, home, and personal domain. The study contributes to the literature by linking the proactive motivation process to the prevention of burnout and by focusing on both work and non-work factors. Results of this study can be used in further research into the (effectiveness of) employees’ proactive burnout prevention behaviors and serve as a starting point for developing interventions aimed at enhancing proactive burnout prevention.
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