Investigation of stress and burnout in Irish second-level teachers: A mixed-methods approach.

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Foley, Conor
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University College Cork
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This study explores the experiences of stress and burnout in Irish second level teachers and examines the contribution of a number of individual, environmental and health factors in burnout development. As no such study has previously been carried out with this sample, a mixed-methods approach was adopted in order to comprehensively investigate the subject matter. Teaching has consistently been identified as a particularly stressful occupation and research investigating its development is of great importance in developing measures to address the problem. The first phase of study involved the use of focus groups conducted with a total of 20 second-level teachers from 11 different schools in the greater Cork city area. Findings suggest that teachers experience a variety of stressors – in class, in the staff room and outside of school. The second phase of study employed a survey to examine the factors associated with burnout. Analysis of 192 responses suggested that burnout results from a combination of demographic, personality, environmental and coping factors. Burnout was also found to be associated with a number of physical symptoms, particularly trouble sleeping and fatigue. Findings suggest that interventions designed to reduce burnout must reflect the complexity of the problem and its development. Based on the research findings, interventions that combine individual and organisational approaches should provide the optimal chance of effectively tackling burnout.
Burnout , Stress , Teaching , Teachers , Ireland , Mixed-methods , Focus group , Survey
Foley, C. 2013. Investigation of stress and burnout in Irish second-level teachers: A mixed-methods approach. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.