Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Tomeka Davis

Second Advisor

Dr. Veronica Newton

Third Advisor

Dr. Erin Ruel


Burnout is a term originally used in psychology literature to denote the physical mental and emotional exhaustion resultant of chronic work-related stress. Today, however, the term’s meaning transcends its original definition. Recently, it was suggested that Millennials, people born between 1981-1996 are experiencing a new and pervasive form of burnout that transcends the workplace. This particular burnout is due to social, cultural, economic and technological shifts making it increasingly difficult for Millennials to navigate adulthood and achieve a similar or higher standard of living than their parents or previous generations (Filipovic 2020; Petersen 2020; Van Dam 2020). Literature demonstrates that burnout increases the development of physical, mental/emotional health conditions as well as induces strain in relationships with family and friends (Notten, Grunow, and Verbakel 2017; Salvagioni et al. 2017). Furthermore, burnout has adverse organizational and economic outcomes such as absenteeism and loss of productivity (Berland, Natvig, and Gundersen 2008; Faller et al. 2011; Klein et al. 2010). Despite the newfound attention for Millennial burnout, the discourse fails to consider the role of racism. As a result, little is known about the true nature of burnout amongst Black Millennials given that they encounter social injustices perpetuated by pejorative policies and practices that infiltrate every corner of their lives. This dissertation study explores the unique racially charged experiences and race-based stressors that contribute to burnout in 30 Black Millennials residing in the U.S. Findings reveal that hustle culture, student loan debt and the multiplicities of precarity –all influenced by racial capitalism– operate as drivers of burnout in Black Millennials. Further, the most prominent signs of burnout in respondents were feeling drained, anger and frustration, anxiousness, loss of appetite and social withdrawal. In order to combat burnout, Black Millennial respondents employ avoidant coping mechanisms such as emotional eating, drinking alcohol, exercise, cannabis use and other forms of self-care.


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Available for download on Friday, April 25, 2025