European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 301–314 | Cite as

Depersonalization or cynicism, efficacy or inefficacy: what are the dimensions of teacher burnout?

  • Silvia Simbula
  • Dina Guglielmi


This article seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate on the dimensionality of the burnout syndrome. Specifically, its aims are: (1) to investigate the role of efficacy beliefs using negatively worded inefficacy items instead of positive ones and (2) to establish whether depersonalization and cynicism can be considered two different dimensions of the teacher burnout syndrome. The results show that, compared with efficacy beliefs, inefficacy beliefs relate more strongly to the other burnout dimensions considered by the study (i.e., emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and cynicism). Moreover, using partial disaggregation method, a better fit is found for the four-factor model with separate depersonalization and cynicism dimensions than for the three-factor model in which depersonalization and cynicism are collapsed into one factor. The article concludes that future research on teacher burnout should: (1) use the inefficacy scale as the “third dimension” of burnout, rather than the efficacy scale, and (2) include the cynicism and depersonalization constructs.


Cynicism Depersonalization Inefficacy MBI-ES Teacher burnout 


Cet article vise à contribuer au débat actuel à propos des dimensions constituant le syndrome d'épuisement professionnel (burnout). Plus en détail les buts sont: (1) analyser le rôle des croyances d'efficacité par une échelle mesurant les croyances d'inefficacité (composée d'items formulés de manière négative, au lieu de positive); (2) vérifier si on peut considérer Dépersonnalisation et Cynisme comme deux dimensions différentes du syndrome de burnout des professeurs. Nos résultats ont montré que les croyances d'inefficacité sont plus fortement associées aux dimensions du burnout (Dépersonnalisation, Cynisme, Épuisement emotionnel) que les croyances d'efficacité. De plus, des analyses de équations structurelles (méthode de désagrégation partielle) ont montré que le modèle à quatre facteurs avec les deux dimensions de Dépersonnalisation et Cynisme séparées a un meilleur ajustement par rapport au modèle à trois facteurs, dans lequel Dépersonnalisation et Cynisme ont été effondrés dans un seul facteur. On peut conclure que dans les recherches futures sur le burnout des professeurs il serait mieux: (1) d'utiliser une échelle d'inefficacité comme “troisième dimension” du burnout, plutôt qu'une échelle d'efficacité; (2) d'inclure les dimensions Cynisme et Dépersonnalisation.



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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Science + Business Media BV 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BolognaBolognaItaly

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