Intentions to Quit Work Among Care Staff

Researchers from Deakin University (in Melbourne, Australia) have recently completed a study examining contextual and personal factors related to intention to quit among health care staff caring for older adults. While several job-related factors were found to directly influence intentions to quit, additional analyses suggested that intention to quit can be modified by reducing job stressors and increasing supervisor support.

The direct care workforce experiences high rates of turnover which have negative implications for the quality of care provided to older adult residents, resident behavior, and for the financial costs of the organizations. Further, staff turnover may contribute to increased employee training costs and decreased organizational efficiency.

In this study, researchers tested the efficacy of Firth and colleagues’ (2004) pre-existing model of intention to quit in an aged care setting. Their sample included 198 nurses, personal care assistants, allied health professionals and managers who completed a self-report questionnaire that assessed intention to quit, job commitment, job satisfaction, self-esteem, stressors, stress, and supervisor support.  Results largely indicated that Firth and colleagues model was a good fit, with only two of the 17 relationships demonstrating a different pattern of association. Job commitment, job satisfaction, and work stressors were directly linked to intentions to quit, whereas work stressors and supervisor support demonstrated several indirect links to intentions to quit.

This study highlights the fact that managerial staff has the ability to positively intervene with staff who may be at risk of quitting. Job stressors and supervisor support can both be addressed to enhance job satisfaction. Specifically, the authors suggest instituting mentoring and support programs for staff.


Karantzas GC, Mellor D, et al. Intentions to quit work among care staff working in the aged care sector. The Gerontologist; (2012). (52):506-516.

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