Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Work-related 'burnout' more likely to affect the best lecturers, study suggests

Date:
May 3, 2011
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Conscientious academics who try hard to keep in regular contact with their students are the most likely to suffer from work-related 'burnout,' a new study has found.

Conscientious academics who try hard to keep in regular contact with their students are the most likely to suffer from work-related "burnout," a new study has found.

Positive traits that can make lecturers more appealing teachers, such as openness, also make them more susceptible to suffering feelings of weariness and emotional exhaustion.

The problem could be getting worse as more students join part-time, distance and online learning programmes and other flexible study options that increase their need for learning support.

In the first systematic review examining the extent of burnout in full-time non-medical university teaching staff, University of Leicester researchers found that burnout was partly linked to exposure to large numbers of students, especially postgraduates.

As well as feeling weary and exhausted, people experiencing burnout also suffer from disinterest and reduced performance, feelings of depersonalisation and a growing sense of work-related dissatisfaction.

Noelle Robertson, a senior lecturer in clinical psychology at Leicester, and PhD student Jenny Watts, reviewed 12 studies of academic burnout in seven different countries and found high student numbers were related to increased evidence of these characteristics among academic staff.

Teachers of postgraduates showed more emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation than those teaching undergraduates, while younger staff appeared most vulnerable, showing significantly greater emotional exhaustion than their older colleagues. Most of the studies reviewed found differences in the way men and women experienced burnout, with women reporting more emotional exhaustion and men more depersonalisation.

Dr Robertson said: "We found that burnout levels generally suggest that university academics are just as susceptible to burnt out as school teachers and other public and human service providers."

Studies of secondary school teachers have shown that experience of burnout -- especially emotional exhaustion -- makes teachers less effective, less able to manage their classrooms and less confident that they can inspire their pupils, while many also suffer ill health. Burnout is associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression and disturbed sleep and is linked to problems with the immune system, hormones and metabolism.

The Leicester researchers argue that the expectation on university staff to provide support for students makes them particularly vulnerable because interpersonal interaction is a significant factor in the development of burnout. They suggest that the risk may be magnified by the increasing numbers of students in higher education requiring support to mediate the gap between secondary school and higher education, and because more are studying part-time or on distance-learning programmes.

Dr Robertson said: "By monitoring staff burnout we can put in place strategies to help mitigate it. By the time people feel burnt out they may feel terribly isolated and disassociated from their host institution so it is worthwhile finding ways of dealing with it much earlier."

Staff counsellors at the University of Leicester have introduced a training programme to help academics identify and tackle the symptoms and causes of stress that can lead to burnout.

Veronica Moore, manager of Leicester's staff counselling and well-being service, said: "Often burnout is caused by people putting too much pressure on themselves. Frequently we find that people who are already stressed take on more commitments, which can lead to a downward spiral."

But students can also help. The research suggests that the better prepared students are and the more engaged they are in their learning, the less likely their teachers are to suffer burnout.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Work-related 'burnout' more likely to affect the best lecturers, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418083353.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2011, May 3). Work-related 'burnout' more likely to affect the best lecturers, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418083353.htm
University of Leicester. "Work-related 'burnout' more likely to affect the best lecturers, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418083353.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

AP (July 23, 2014) Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that took over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets that were then resold. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

Reuters - US Online Video (July 22, 2014) Ten years after releasing its initial report, members of the 9/11 Commission warn of the "waning sense of urgency" in combating terrorists attacks. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins