The Relationship between Teachers’ Job Burnout and Perfectionism

Julita Navaitienė, Viktorija Danilovienė


Today, our society and school are looking for the most effective means of implementing the ever-increasing changes in the education system. Special attention is paid to teacher’s profession and personality and specific requirements for the teacher (Nasvytienė & Balčaitytė, 2009; Stočkus, 2014; Kim, Youngs, & Frenk, 2017). This causes permanent emotional tension that can lead to teachers’ burnout at work. The article deals with the problem of job burnout and its relationship with perfectionism as a personality trait. The presence of perfectionism as a teacher’s personality trait and job burnout is acknowledged on a theoretical level (Flett, Hewitt, & Hallett, 1995; Friedman, 2000), however, the number of empirical studies on the issue is not sufficient.

The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between teachers’ burnout at work and perfectionism. The study involved 136 informants – teachers from general education schools and special education institutions. The Maslach Burnout Inventory – Educators Survey was used to analyze job burnout, while the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale was applied to study perfectionism.

Analysis of the survey data showed that the researched teachers experience burnout at work and that self-oriented perfectionism is most common to teachers,– while other-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism are less common.

Analysis of general education school teachers’ and special education teachers’ burnout at work and perfectionism revealed that there are certain differences in general education school teachers’ and special education teachers’ job burnout. These results support Nasvytienė and Balčaityte’s (2009) conducted review of teachers’ experience which showed that teachers who work with children having emotional and behavioral disorders feel complex internal experiences that fray them. The research disclosed that special education teachers more frequently experience emotional exhaustion.

The research also demonstrated that self-oriented perfectionism correlates with all the scales of job burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment). A multivariate regression analysis showed that such variables as self-oriented perfectionism and age predict 60.3 percent of emotional exhaustion variation.

Keywords: job burnout, emotional exhaustion, perfectionism, self-oriented perfectionism, teachers.


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