Two researchers and professors from the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), Isabelle Roskam and Moïra Mikolajczak, are launching a large international survey on parental burnout. The aim of this work is to test the intercultural prevalence and variation of parental burnout in different countries around the world, and thus, to be able to find new tools to understand and counter this type of burnout that affects parents. UCL is in the forefront with respect to parental burnout, a theme which has become an item of scientific interest only recently.
To this day, parental burnout – which constitutes a syndrome distinct from both professional burnout and parental stress – has been studied mainly in Belgium (at UCL) and Sweden. The aim of the international study initiated by the two professors and by Maday Valdes Pacheco, researcher from the UCL Institute for Research in Psychological Sciences, is to multiply collected data on parental burnout, to be able to respond more efficiently to its sometimes-dramatic consequences.
For the syndrome has specific causes and consequences: parental burnout can lead to an increase of negligent or violent – verbal or physical – behavior towards children, though, paradoxically, it affects parents who are hyper conscious of their role. UCL has already elaborated several tools and solutions for dealing with this syndrome, such as specific researches, specialized psychological consultations, a speech group set up in collaboration with the Mutualité Chrétienne, and two books by professors Roskam and Mikolajczak, published by Odile Jacobs.