Investigating the Antecedents of Teacher Burnout and its Impact on Turnover Intentions in a Post-disaster Context
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This study sought to investigate employee burnout within a post-disaster context by exploring teachers’ burnout perceptions and workplace attitudes in the aftermath of the 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquakes. The study hypothesised that burnout dimensions (emotional exhaustion and cynicism) would be related with the extent to which individuals and schools were impacted by the earthquakes, and with the quality of school support for staff and students (i.e., personal disaster impact, school disaster impact and school responsiveness to the disaster), with perceptions of role conflict and role overload, and with turnover intentions. Additionally, a Teacher Burnout Model was proposed whereby emotional exhaustion and cynicism were hypothesised to mediate the relationships between the independent variables (i.e., the disaster-related and role-related variables) and turnover intentions. 125 primary, intermediate and secondary school teachers from the city of Christchurch completed an online survey. Results revealed that high role overload, high role conflict, high school disaster impact, and schools’ ineffective disaster coping responses, were associated with increased levels of emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Although greater impact of earthquakes on teachers’ personal lives was related to higher levels of emotional exhaustion, results revealed a non-significant relationship between personal disaster impact and cynicism. In the Teacher Burnout Model, the relationships between both role stress variables and turnover intentions were mediated by perceptions of emotional exhaustion. This study contributes novel findings to the burnout literature, and provides implications for schools and organisations operating within a disaster context.