Background. Teaching is considered a highly stressful occupation. Burnout is a negative affective response occurring as a result of chronic work stress. While the early theories of burnout focused exclusively on work-related stressors, recent research adopts a more integrative approach where both environmental and individual factors are studied. Nevertheless, such studies are scarce with teacher samples.
Aims. The present cross-sectional study sought to investigate the association between burnout, personality characteristics and job stressors in primary school teachers from Cyprus. The study also investigates the relative contribution of these variables on the three facets of burnout – emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment.
Sample. A representative sample of 447 primary school teachers participated in the study.
Method. Teachers completed measures of burnout, personality and job stressors along with demographic and professional data. Surveys were delivered by courier to schools, and were distributed at faculty meetings.
Results. Results showed that both personality and work-related stressors were associated with burnout dimensions. Neuroticism was a common predictor of all dimensions of burnout although in personal accomplishment had a different direction. Managing student misbehaviour and time constraints were found to systematically predict dimensions of burnout.
Conclusions. Teachers' individual characteristics as well as job related stressors should be taken into consideration when studying the burnout phenomenon. The fact that each dimension of the syndrome is predicted by different variables should not remain unnoticed especially when designing and implementing intervention programmes to reduce burnout in teachers.