Family childcare providers' job-related social support networks, burnout, and stress

Candace Mootoo, Fordham University


Background: Family childcare (FCC) providers face unique stressors, have complex job demands, and experience high stress. Research on this population indicates that social support is associated with job stress and childcare quality but has not investigated job burnout, job competence, or the role of job self-efficacy. This study examined the job-related social support networks of FCC providers—assessing their ego-centric networks and network centrality—to investigate the link between social support and the aforementioned constructs. Method: We recruited 19 FCC providers in New York City who were part of a network operated by an urban, community-based organization, administering a semi-structured interview about their support networks and self-report questionnaires about perceived stress, job burnout, and job self-efficacy. We referred to archival records from the providers’ organization to gather data on childcare quality and assessment completion, one component of job competence. Results: Contrary to our hypotheses, having more providers in support networks predicted greater perceived stress and emotional exhaustion, and having higher support network centrality predicted greater emotional exhaustion. Having an assistant was associated with less emotional exhaustion; notably, most assistants were family members. In line with our hypothesis, job self-efficacy predicted lower perceived stress, lower emotional exhaustion, and greater assessment completion. There were no significant results related to childcare quality. Importantly, job self-efficacy moderated the relationship between social support and perceived stress, such that providers with low self-efficacy reported a positive relationship between support network size and perceived stress, while providers with high self-efficacy reported a negative relationship between these variables. With regard to job burnout, 26% of providers endorsed moderate to high levels of emotional exhaustion; 16% endorsed moderate to high levels of depersonalization; 16% endorsed low to moderate levels of personal accomplishment. Conclusion: Results suggest that more social support for family childcare providers is not necessarily better, and that job self-efficacy is important for predicting provider stress. Results also suggest that job burnout is a phenomenon that affects FCC providers. Future research directions include investigating the mechanisms that underlie the relationships between social support and provider outcomes and job self-efficacy and provider outcomes.

Subject Area

Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Mootoo, Candace, "Family childcare providers' job-related social support networks, burnout, and stress" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10192647.