Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 295-314

First online:

Teachers’ burnout, depression, role ambiguity and conflict

  • Antonia PapastylianouAffiliated withDemocritus University of Thrace Email author 
  • , Maria KailaAffiliated withUniversity of Aegean
  • , Michael PolychronopoulosAffiliated withUniversity of Aegean

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The present study investigates issues associated with teachers’ burnout in primary education as related to depression and role conflict–ambiguity. At the time of the study the participants (562 teachers) were working in seventy nine (79) Primary Education State Schools in Greece (Athens and two prefectures in the southern part of the country). The results showed that of the three factors comprising the Burnout inventory (MBI, Maslach and Jackson, MBI: Maslach Burnout Inventory; manual research edition, 1986), (i.e., Emotional exhaustion, Personal accomplishment, Depersonalization) Emotional Exhaustion showed a statistically significant (positive) correlation with the factors that comprise: (a) the Scale of Depression (CES-D: Ensel, in: Lin et al. (eds.) Social support, life events and depression, 1986; Radloff, Applied Psychological Measurement 1: 385–401, 1977) such as Depressed affect, Somatic retarded activity and (b) Degree of Role Conflict (Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Scale, Rizzo et al., Administrative Science Quarterly, 15:150–163, 1970, adapted in Greek by Koustelios and Kousteliou, Psychological Reports, 82:131–136, 1998); similarly, Positive affect (CES-D) and Degree of Role Clarity (Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Scale) showed a statistically significant (negative) correlation with the same factor (Emotional exhaustion). Furthermore, a regression analysis performed with Personal accomplishment as the dependent variable showed that the (combined) factors of Role Ambiguity, Positive Affect and Somatic Retarded Activity contributed significantly to the prediction of the dependent variable; A third regression analysis performed with Depersonalization as dependent variable showed that Somatic Retarded Activity, Role Conflict, Positive Affect, Interpersonal Affect and Role Ambiguity contributed significantly to the prediction of this variable. Overall, the results showed that Greek teachers experience low-moderate levels of Burnout, Depression, Role conflict and Role ambiguity.


Teachers’ burnout Depression Role conflict–ambiguity