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ERIC Number: EJ914110
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 62
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Burnout in University Teaching Staff: A Systematic Literature Review
Watts, J.; Robertson, N.
Educational Research, v53 n1 p33-50 Mar 2011
Background: Teacher stress potentially impairs personal and professional competence and compromises productivity. Aversive emotional experience has been most comprehensively encapsulated by the phenomenon of burnout, which is particularly prominent for staff in human service sectors. Burnout reactions have been characterised as tripartite: the depletion of emotional reserves ("emotional exhaustion"), an increasingly cynical and negative approach towards others ("depersonalisation") and a growing feeling of work-related dissatisfaction ("personal accomplishment"). Purpose: Few studies have investigated the emotional consequences of teachers' stress and even fewer have specifically focused on university educators. A systematic literature review was thus conducted to evaluate the extent of burnout for university teaching staff and specifically to reveal predictive variables, which may explain this experience in this understudied occupational group. Design and methods: Six databases including Educational Resources Information Centre (ERIC), PsychINFO and Scopus were searched using the terms "burnout," "university," "academics," "teaching staff," "lecturers," "research staff" and "faculty." Papers were limited to English language peer-reviewed empirical investigations of burnout in full-time university teaching staff. Papers not adopting a clear operationalisation of burnout were rejected. Twelve papers met the criteria and were included in the review. A detailed data extraction form was used to reveal relevant information from each paper. Conclusions: The review revealed that staff exposure to high numbers of students, especially tuition of postgraduates, strongly predicts the experience of burnout. Other predictive variables included gender, with higher depersonalisation scores found in male teachers and female teachers typically scoring higher on the emotional exhaustion dimension. Age also demonstrated an association, with younger staff appearing more vulnerable to emotional exhaustion. Burnout in university teachers was comparable with other service sector employees such as schoolteachers and healthcare professionals. The current review reveals a scarcity of comparative studies across different university contexts, therefore multi-site studies are required in order to control for the potential influence of moderating variables such as institution age when measuring burnout in university teachers. (Contains 1 figure and 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Maslach Burnout Inventory