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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

International Journal of Mental Health Systems 1/2014

Power distance and mentor-protégé relationship quality as moderators of the relationship between informal mentoring and burnout: evidence from China

International Journal of Mental Health Systems > Ausgabe 1/2014
Jing Qian, Zhuo Han, Haiwan Wang, Xiaoyan Li, Qiuyue Wang
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-4458-8-51) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contribution

JQ designed and drafted this study. ZH and JQ conducted the statistical analysis, interpreted data and drafted the initial manuscript. JQ, XYL,HWW and QYW collected the data. HWW and QYW contributed to the interpretation of the findings. All authors critically reviewed and approved the final version of this manuscript.



The topic of how to prevent and reduce burnout has drawn great attention from researchers and practitioners in recent years. However, we know little about how mentoring as a form of social support exerts influence on employee burnout.


This study aims to examine the contingency side of the mentoring-burnout relationship by addressing the exploratory question of whether individual differences in power distance and relationship quality play important roles in mentoring effectiveness in terms of reducing a protégé’s burnout level.


A total of 210 employees from a technology communications company completed the survey questionnaire.


(1) A protégés’ power distance moderates the negative relationship between mentoring and burnout in such a way that the relationship is stronger for protégés who are lower rather than higher in power distance; (2) mentor-protégé relationship quality moderates the negative relationship between mentoring and burnout in such a way that the relationship is stronger when the relationship quality is higher rather than lower.


In sum, our results highlight the importance of studying the contingency side of mentoring effects on protégé burnout. Our findings suggest that the individuals’ different cultural values of power distance and mentor-protégé relationship quality are the boundary conditions for the mentoring-burnout relationship. We therefore suggest that research on mentoring-burnout will be advanced by considering the role of the moderating process.
Authors’ original file for figure 1
Authors’ original file for figure 2
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