Skip to main content

Does Burnout Affect Academic Achievement? A Meta-Analysis of over 100,000 Students

Abstract

Burnout is understood to have many adverse consequences for students. However, several equivocal findings in the literature mean that it is currently unclear to what extent burnout affects academic achievement. To address this lack of clarity, the aim of the present study was to provide a first meta-analysis of the relationship between burnout and academic achievement. A literature search returned 29 studies (N = 109,396) and 89 effect sizes. Robust variance meta-analyses indicated that total burnout had a significant negative relationship with academic achievement (rc+ = − .24). A similar pattern of relationships was found for each of the three symptoms of burnout (exhaustion [rc+ = − .15], cynicism [rc+ = − .24], and reduced efficacy [rc+ = − .39]). There was some evidence that the instrument used to measure burnout moderated the relationship between reduced efficacy and achievement. Taken together, the findings suggest that burnout leads to worse academic achievement in school, college, and university.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. Note, however, these findings do not necessarily reflect clinical depression, but instead depressive symptoms (see Richardson et al. 2012).

  2. Because the study of Salmela-Aro et al. (2008) had a very large sample and also measured burnout sometime after they measured achievement, we ran another analysis that excluded the effects from this study, no substantial differences were found.

References

References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the meta-analysis.

  • Agadullina, E. R., & Lovakov, A. V. (2018). Are people more prejudiced towards groups that are perceived as coherent? A meta-analysis of the relationship between out-group entitativity and prejudice. British Journal of Social Psychology, 57(4), 703–731.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alarcon, G. M. (2011). A meta-analysis of burnout with job demands, resources, and attitudes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79(2), 549–562.

    Google Scholar 

  • *Atalayin, C., Balkis, M., Tezel, H., Onal, B., & Kayrak, G. (2015). The prevalence and consequences of burnout on a group of preclinical dental students. European Journal of Dentistry, 9, 356.

  • Bacon, D. R., & Bean, B. (2006). GPA in research studies: An invaluable but neglected opportunity. Journal of Marketing Education, 28(1), 35–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • *Balogun, J. A., Hoeberlein-Miller, T. M., Schneider, E., & Katz, J. S. (1996). Academic performance is not a viable determinant of physical therapy students’ burnout. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 83, 21–22.

  • Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. Macmillan.

  • Bosco, F. A., Aguinis, H., Singh, K., Field, J. G., & Pierce, C. A. (2015). Correlational effect size benchmarks. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(2), 431–449.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bresó, E., Schaufeli, W. B., & Salanova, M. (2011). Can a self-efficacy-based intervention decrease burnout, increase engagement, and enhance performance? A quasi-experimental study. Higher Education, 61(4), 339–355.

    Google Scholar 

  • *Burr, J., & Beck Dallaghan, G. L. (2019). The relationship of emotions and burnout to medical students’ academic performance. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 1–8.

  • *Cadime, I., Pinto, A. M., Lima, S., Rego, S., Pereira, J., & Ribeiro, I. (2016). Well-being and academic achievement in secondary school pupils: The unique effects of burnout and engagement. Journal of Adolescence, 53, 169–179.

  • Chang, M. L. (2009). An appraisal perspective of teacher burnout: Examining the emotional work of teachers. Educational Psychology Review, 21(3), 193–218.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dumont, H., Protsch, P., Jansen, M., & Becker, M. (2017). Fish swimming into the ocean: How tracking relates to students’ self-beliefs and school disengagement at the end of schooling. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(6), 855–870.

    Google Scholar 

  • Duru, E., Duru, S., & Balkis, M. (2014). Analysis of relationships among burnout, academic achievement, and self-regulation. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 14, 1274–1284.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dyrbye, L. N., Thomas, M. R., Massie, F. S., Power, D. V., Eacker, A., Harper, W., ... & Sloan, J. A. (2008). Burnout and suicidal ideation among US medical students. Annals of Internal Medicine, 149(5), 334–341.

  • El Ansari, W., & Stock, C. (2010). Is the health and wellbeing of university students associated with their academic performance? Cross sectional findings from the United Kingdom. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(2), 509–527.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fiorilli, C., De Stasio, S., Di Chiacchio, C., Pepe, A., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2017). School burnout, depressive symptoms and engagement: Their combined effect on student achievement. International Journal of Educational Research, 84, 1–12.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, Z., & Tipton, E. (2015). robumeta: An R-package for robust variance estimation in meta-analysis. arXiv preprint arXiv:1503.02220.

  • Folkman, S., Lazarus, R. S., Pimley, S., & Novacek, J. (1987). Age differences in stress and coping processes. Psychology and Aging, 2(2), 171–184.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hampel, P., & Petermann, F. (2005). Age and gender effects on coping in children and adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34(2), 73–83.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York, NY: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hedges, L. V., & Vevea, J. L. (1998). Fixed-and random-effects models in meta-analysis. Psychological Methods, 3, 486–504.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hedges, L. V., Tipton, E., & Johnson, M. C. (2010). Robust variance estimation inmeta-regression with dependent effect size estimates. Research Synthesis Methods, 1, 39–65.

    Google Scholar 

  • Herrmann, J., Koeppen, K., & Kessels, U. (2019). Do girls take school too seriously? Investigating gender differences in school burnout from a self-worth perspective. Learning and Individual Differences, 69, 150–161.

    Google Scholar 

  • Higgins, J. P., & Thompson, S. G. (2002). Quantifying heterogeneity in a meta-analysis. Statistics in Medicine, 21(11), 1539–1558.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hill, A. P., & Curran, T. (2016a). Multidimensional perfectionism and burnout: A meta-analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 20, 269–288.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hill, A. P., & Curran, T. (2016b). Multidimensional perfectionism and burnout: A meta-analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 20, 269–288.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hodge, B., Wright, B., & Bennett, P. (in press). Balancing effort and rewards at university: Implications for physical health, mental health, and academic outcomes. Psychological Reports.

  • Iancu, A. E., Rusu, A., Măroiu, C., Păcurar, R., & Maricuțoiu, L. P. (2018). The effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing teacher burnout: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 30(2), 373–396.

    Google Scholar 

  • IsHak, W., Nikravesh, R., Lederer, S., Perry, R., Ogunyemi, D., & Bernstein, C. (2013). Burnout in medical students: A systematic review. The Clinical Teacher, 10(4), 242–245.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim, L. E., Jörg, V., & Klassen, R. M. (in press). A meta-analysis of the effects of teacher personality on teacher effectiveness and burnout. Educational Psychology Review.

  • Kljajic, K., Gaudreau, P., & Franche, V. (2017). An investigation of the 2× 2 model of perfectionism with burnout, engagement, self-regulation, and academic achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 57, 103–113.

    Google Scholar 

  • Klusmann, U., Richter, D., & Lüdtke, O. (2016). Teachers’ emotional exhaustion is negatively related to students’ achievement: Evidence from a large-scale assessment study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(8), 1193–1203.

    Google Scholar 

  • Korhonen, J., Tapola, A., Linnanmäki, K., & Aunio, P. (2016). Gendered pathways to educational aspirations: The role of academic self-concept, school burnout, achievement and interest in mathematics and reading. Learning and Instruction, 46, 21–33.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kotzé, M., & Kleynhans, R. (2013). Psychological well-being and resilience as predictors of first-year students' academic performance. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 23(1), 51–59.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kuittinen, M., & Meriläinen, M. (2014). The effect of study-related burnout on student perceptions. Journal of International Education in Business, 4, 42–62.

    Google Scholar 

  • Law, D. W. (2007). Exhaustion in university students and the effect of coursework involvement. Journal of American College Health, 55(4), 239–245.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee, R. T., & Ashforth, B. E. (1996). A meta-analytic examination of the correlates of the three dimensions of job burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(2), 123–133.

    Google Scholar 

  • Li, J., Han, X., Wang, W., Sun, G., & Cheng, Z. (2018). How social support influences university students’ academic achievement and emotional exhaustion: The mediating role of self-esteem. Learning and Individual Differences, 61, 120–126.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lipsey, M. W. (2009). Identifying interesting variables and analysis opportunities. The handbook of research synthesis and meta-analysis, 2, 147–158.

    Google Scholar 

  • MacCann, C., Jiang, Y., Brown, L. E., Double, K. S., Bucich, M., & Minbashian, A. (2020). Emotional intelligence predicts academic performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 146(2), 150–186.

    Google Scholar 

  • Madigan, D. J. (2019). A meta-analysis of perfectionism and academic achievement. Educational Psychology Review, 31(4), 967–989.

    Google Scholar 

  • Martin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2019). Investigating the reciprocal relations between academic buoyancy and academic adversity: Evidence for the protective role of academic buoyancy in reducing academic adversity over time. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 0165025419885027.

  • Maslach, C., & Jackson, S. E. (1981). The measurement of experienced burnout. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 2(2), 99–113.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maslach, C., Jackson, S. E., Leiter, M. P., Schaufeli, W. B., & Schwab, R. L. (1986). Maslach burnout inventory (21st ed.pp. 3463–3464). Palo Alto: Consulting psychologists press.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCarthy, M. E., Pretty, G. M., & Catano, V. (1990). Psychological sense of community and student burnout. Journal of College Student Development, 31, 211–216.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCarthy, C. J., Lambert, R. G., Lineback, S., Fitchett, P., & Baddouh, P. G. (2016). Assessing teacher appraisals and stress in the classroom: Review of the classroom appraisal of resources and demands. Educational Psychology Review, 28(3), 577–603.

    Google Scholar 

  • OECD. (2015). Education at a glance 2015: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • OECD. (2016). Education at a glance 2016: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Paloș, R., Maricuţoiu, L. P., & Costea, I. (2019). Relations between academic performance, student engagement and student burnout: A cross-lagged analysis of a two-wave study. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 60, 199–204.

    Google Scholar 

  • Petitta, L., & Vecchione, M. (2011). Job burnout, absenteeism, and extra role behaviors. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 26(2), 97–121.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pinquart, M., & Ebeling, M. (2019). Parental Educational Expectations and Academic Achievement in Children and Adolescents—a Meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review.

  • Poropat, A. E. (2009). A meta-analysis of the five-factor model of personality and academic performance. Psychological Bulletin, 135(2), 322–338.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rana, H. (2016). Impact of student’s burnout on academic performance/achievement. Pollster Journal of Academic Research, 3, 159–174.

    Google Scholar 

  • Richardson, M., Abraham, C., & Bond, R. (2012). Psychological correlates of university students’ academic performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(2), 353–387.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ridner, S. L., Newton, K. S., Staten, R. R., Crawford, T. N., & Hall, L. A. (2016). Predictors of well-being among college students. Journal of American College Health, 64(2), 116–124.

    Google Scholar 

  • Romano, L., Buonomo, I., Callea, A., & Fiorilli, C. (2019). Alexithymia in young people’s academic career: The mediating role of anxiety and resilience. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 180(4-5), 157–169.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosenberg, M. S. (2005). The file-drawer problem revisited: A general weightedmethod for calculating fail-safe numbers in meta-analysis. Evolution:International Journal of Organic Evolution, 59, 464–468.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosenthal, R. (1979). The “file drawer problem” and tolerance for null results. Psychological Bulletin, 86(3), 638–641.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salanova, M., Schaufeli, W., Martínez, I., & Bresó, E. (2010). How obstacles and facilitators predict academic performance: The mediating role of study burnout and engagement. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 23(1), 53–70.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salmela-Aro, K., & Näätänen, P. (2005). Nuorten koulu-uupumusmittari BBI-10 [Adolescents’ School Burnout Inventory]. Helsinki: Edita.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salmela-Aro, K., Kiuru, N., Pietikäinen, M., & Jokela, J. (2008). Does school matter? The role of school context in adolescents’ school-related burnout. European Psychologist, 13(1), 12–23.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salmela-Aro, K., Kiuru, N., Leskinen, E., & Nurmi, J. E. (2009). School burnout inventory (SBI) reliability and validity. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 25(1), 48–57.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schaufeli, W. B., & Taris, T. W. (2005). The conceptualization and measurement of burnout: Common ground and worlds apart. Work and Stress, 19(3), 256–262.

    Google Scholar 

  • *Schaufeli, W. B., Martinez, I. M., Pinto, A. M., Salanova, M., & Bakker, A. B. (2002). Burnout and engagement in university students: A cross-national study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 33(5), 464–481.

  • Schneider, M., & Preckel, F. (2017). Variables associated with achievement in higher education: A systematic review of meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin, 143(6), 565–600.

    Google Scholar 

  • Seibert, G. S., Bauer, K. N., May, R. W., & Fincham, F. D. (2017). Emotion regulation and academic underperformance: The role of school burnout. Learning and Individual Differences, 60, 1–9.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shin, H., Lee, J., Kim, B., & Lee, S. M. (2012). Students’ perceptions of parental bonding styles and their academic burnout. Asia Pacific Education Review, 13(3), 509–517.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stajkovic, A. D., Bandura, A., Locke, E. A., Lee, D., & Sergent, K. (2018). Test of three conceptual models of influence of the big five personality traits and self-efficacy on academic performance: A meta-analytic path-analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 120, 238–245.

    Google Scholar 

  • Struyven, K., Dochy, F., & Janssens, S. (2005). Students’ perceptions about evaluation and assessment in higher education: A review. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(4), 325–341.

    Google Scholar 

  • Suldo, S. M., Shaunessy-Dedrick, E., Ferron, J., & Dedrick, R. F. (2018). Predictors of success among high school students in advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs. The Gifted Child Quarterly, 62(4), 350–373.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swider, B. W., & Zimmerman, R. D. (2010). Born to burnout: A meta-analytic path model of personality, job burnout, and work outcomes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 76(3), 487–506.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tanner-Smith, E. E., & Tipton, E. (2014). Robust variance estimation with dependenteffect sizes: Practical considerations including a software tutorial in Stata andSPSS. Research Synthesis Methods, 5, 13–30.

    Google Scholar 

  • Taris, T. W. (2006). Is there a relationship between burnout and objective performance? A critical review of 16 studies. Work and Stress, 20(4), 316–334.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thompson, S. G., & Sharp, S. J. (1999). Explaining heterogeneity in meta-analysis: Acomparison of methods. Statistics in Medicine, 18, 2693–2708.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thorndike, E. L. (1914). Educational psychology (I-III ed.). New York: Teachers College.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tipton, E. (2015). Small sample adjustments for robust variance estimation withmeta-regression. Psychological Methods, 20, 375–393.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vedel, A. (2014). The Big Five and tertiary academic performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 71, 66–76.

    Google Scholar 

  • Virtanen, T. E., Lerkkanen, M. K., Poikkeus, A. M., & Kuorelahti, M. (2018). Student engagement and school burnout in Finnish lower-secondary schools: Latent profile analysis. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 62(4), 519–537.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vizoso, C., Arias-Gundín, O., & Rodríguez, C. (2019). Exploring coping and optimism as predictors of academic burnout and performance among university students. Educational Psychology, 39(6), 768–783.

    Google Scholar 

  • Walburg, V. (2014). Burnout among high school students: A literature review. Children and Youth Services Review, 42, 28–33.

    Google Scholar 

  • *Wang, M. T., Kiuru, N., Degol, J. L., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2018). Friends, academic achievement, and school engagement during adolescence: A social network approach to peer influence and selection effects. Learning and Instruction, 58, 148–160.

  • West, C. P., Dyrbye, L. N., Erwin, P. J., & Shanafelt, T. D. (2016). Interventions to prevent and reduce physician burnout: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet, 388(10057), 2272–2281.

    Google Scholar 

  • Westrick, P. A. (2017). Reliability estimates for undergraduate grade point average. Educational Assessment, 22(4), 231–252.

    Google Scholar 

  • Widlund, A., Tuominen, H., & Korhonen, J. (2018). Academic well-being, mathematics performance, and educational aspirations in lower secondary education: Changes within a school year. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 297.

    Google Scholar 

  • Winne, P. H., & Nesbit, J. C. (2010). The psychology of academic achievement. Annual Review of Psychology, 61(1), 653–678.

    Google Scholar 

  • World Health Organization. (2018) International classification of diseases for mortality and morbidity statistics (11th Revision). https://icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en (accessed Nov. 2019).

  • Xie, Y. J., Sun, T., & Yang, L. B. (2019). The effects of academic adaptability on academic burnout, immersion in learning, and academic performance among Chinese medical students: A cross-sectional study. BMC Medical Education, 19(1), 211.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel J. Madigan.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Madigan, D.J., Curran, T. Does Burnout Affect Academic Achievement? A Meta-Analysis of over 100,000 Students. Educ Psychol Rev 33, 387–405 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-020-09533-1

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-020-09533-1

Keywords

  • Exhaustion
  • Performance
  • Education
  • School
  • College
  • University