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Relationship between occupational stress and burnout among Chinese teachers: a cross-sectional survey in Liaoning, China

  • Yang Wang
  • Aaron Ramos
  • Hui Wu
  • Li Liu
  • Xiaoshi Yang
  • Jiana Wang
  • Lie Wang
Original Article

Abstract

Objectives

Teaching has been reported to be one of the most stressful occupations in the world. Few studies have been conducted to explore the effects of occupational stress on burnout among teachers in developing countries. This study aimed to explore the relationship between occupational stress and burnout among teachers in primary and secondary schools in the Liaoning Province of China.

Methods

A questionnaire that assessed occupational stress comprised of Karasek’s job content questionnaire (JCQ), Siegrist’s effort–reward imbalance questionnaire (ERI), and burnout assessed by the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey was distributed to 681 teachers in primary and secondary schools. A total of 559 effective respondents became our final study subjects. Hierarchical linear regression and logistic regression analyses were performed through the use of SPSS 17.0 to explore the association between occupational stress and burnout.

Results

A high level of emotional exhaustion was significantly associated with high extrinsic effort, high overcommitment, low skill discretion, and high job demand. A high level of cynicism was associated with low reward, low skill discretion, high overcommitment, and low supervisor support. The low level of professional efficacy was associated with low coworker support, low reward, low skill discretion, and high job demand. Compared to the JCQ, the ERI was more likely to explain the burnout of teachers in our study.

Conclusions

Occupational stress proved to be associated with dimensions of burnout among Chinese teachers. It is important for administrators of primary and middle schools to note that strategies to decrease teachers’ occupational stress seem to be crucial to enhance physical and mental health of teachers in China.

Keywords

Occupational stress Burnout Teachers 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank all the administrators in all selected schools who helped to contact the teachers and to all the teachers who participated in this survey.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang Wang
    • 1
  • Aaron Ramos
    • 1
  • Hui Wu
    • 1
  • Li Liu
    • 1
  • Xiaoshi Yang
    • 1
  • Jiana Wang
    • 1
  • Lie Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Medicine, School of Public HealthChina Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

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