Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

David Gullatt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate sources of resistance to burnout in secondary teachers. For the purpose of this study secondary teachers were defined as teachers employed in grades 9-12 with 0-5 years of teaching experience employed in north Louisiana schools. Sources of resistance to burnout was researched in three investigative steps: (a) the relationship between levels of burnout and personality traits, (b) the relationship between levels of burnout and coping resources, and (c) the relationship between burnout and aspects of the job. The study sample consisted of 139 participants from nine identified north Louisiana parishes.

When testing the three hypotheses for this study, the researcher found that there were significant relationships between the predictor variables: (a) perceived workload, (b) extroversion/introversion, (c) emotion, and (d) physical well-being, on the criterion variable of burnout. Extroversion/introversion was found to be a robust predictor of burnout. Teachers with lower levels of extroversion/introversion were found to demonstrate higher levels of burnout. Personal disposition awareness among teachers and school administrators may help to identify potential stressors that could lead to burnout. The strongest predictor of burnout was perceived workload. The findings suggested secondary school administrators should consider teacher burnout as an important contextual variable when allocating workload. Teacher performance may be affected by perceived inequity in workload assignment. The coping resource emotion was found to be a significant predictor of burnout. The Emotion scale measures the degree to which teachers can accept and express range of affect. Orientation to emotion is not an effective coping resource. The coping resource of physical well-being measures the degree to which teachers enact healthy behaviors. Physical well-being was a significant predictor of burnout. Individuals who engage in healthy lifestyle practices tended to be more resistant to burnout. It is recommended that future research focus on environmental factors related to burnout interactions due to personality traits and specific environmental characteristics (i.e., burnout of an extroverted teacher in a high-risk school).

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