Feelings of Existential Fulfilment and Burnout Among Secondary School Teachers

Jul. 02, 2009

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 5, pages 752-757 (July 2009).

Teacher burnout is recognized as a serious problem. In research it has been related to many person-specific variables; one of these, the variable of existential fulfilment, has received very little attention thus far. The present study focuses on the relationship between existential fulfilment and burnout among 504 secondary school teachers in the Netherlands. Existential fulfilment was made operational by means of the Existential Fulfilment Scale. This Scale distinguishes between three dimensions: self-acceptance, self-actualization, and self-transcendence.
A confirmatory factor analysis revealed a three-dimensional construct with interdependent dimensions. Burnout was measured by the Dutch version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory for teachers.
Negative relationships between the existential fulfilment dimensions on the one hand and the burnout dimensions exhaustion and cynicism on the other were hypothesized. Furthermore, positive relationships between the existential fulfilment dimensions and the burnout dimension professional efficacy were also hypothesized.
The hypotheses were confirmed, except for the relationships between self-transcendence and exhaustion and self-transcendence and cynicism, which appeared not to be significant. The inquiry demonstrated the importance of existential fulfilment for the prevalence and prevention of burnout among teachers. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications for future research.

Updated: Jun. 10, 2009