Contemporary School Psychology

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 276–286 | Cite as

Emotional Labor and the Work of School Psychologists

  • Adam D. WeaverEmail author
  • Joseph A. Allen


As the field of school psychology faces critical shortages, investigations of work factors affecting job satisfaction and burnout are of increasing importance. One such factor is emotional labor, which is defined as the work of managing one’s emotions and emotional expressions so as to align to the expectations of the job or profession. In this study, practitioners (N = 192) were surveyed regarding their work experiences, recognition of display rules (standards that guide employees’ emotional expression), surface acting (the form of emotional labor in which employees manage their external emotional expression), job satisfaction, and burnout (consisting of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment). Multiple regression analyses showed that display rule recognition was positively related to surface acting, and surface acting was positively related to emotional exhaustion and depersonalization while negatively related to job satisfaction and personal accomplishment. Results suggest that emotional labor may be an important aspect of the work of school psychologists—impacting both job satisfaction and burnout. Limitations and implications for research and practice are discussed.


Emotional labor Burnout 



This research was supported in part by a grant from the University Committee on Research and Creative Activity at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study complied with Institutional Review Board policies of the authors’ institution, and all participants provided consent.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© California Association of School Psychologists 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology (School Psychology Program)University of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology (Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program)University of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA

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