Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2011

Degree Name

MSW (Master of Social Work)

Degree In

Social Work

First Advisor

Saunders, Jeanne

First Committee Member

Renner, Lynette

Second Committee Member

Jackson, Robert


Involuntary turnover among field staff at wilderness therapy programs can result in therapeutic and financial difficulties for the program. This study sought to examine what factors field staff attribute their intent to turnover to. The factors of organizational commitment, burnout, age, and length of days spent in the field were examined to identify if factors identified as predictors of turnover in previous literature were also true for field staff employed by wilderness therapy programs. Three programs agreed to participate by forwarding emails to their field staff containing a link to the survey, and were also emailed a program director survey that asked some basic demographic questions about their program. The field staff survey was comprised of the Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey, The TCM Employee Commitment Survey, the intent to leave scale, as well as general demographic questions. A total of 13 field staff participated in the study, and as a result the use of multiple regression models was not possible due to the sample size. Six simple linear regressions were conducted to test the predictive hypotheses, and findings suggest that none of the six factors predicted turnover intentions among field staff. Pearson's correlations were conducted to examine the relationship between factors, and suggested that age is negatively related to intent to turnover and that burnout was identified as a stronger contributing factor of intent to turnover than organizational commitment, and the sub factor of continuance commitment. Findings suggested that wilderness therapy programs may want to consider the costs and advantages associated with a workers age when hiring new staff, and to consider using burnout measurement tools to identify burnout in staff so they may employ preventative measures to reduce the number of voluntary turnover among field staff. Future researcher may want to explore additional predictors of turnover intentions not examined in previous literature to continue developing knowledge about programs and those who are employed by wilderness therapy programs.


Burnout, Commitment, Field, Staff, Therapy, Wilderness


vi, 113 pages


Copyright 2011 Cristian Louise Wallace