A Quantitative Study of Factors Influencing Special Education Teachers’ Attrition: The Relationships Between Burnout, Personality, and Organizational Factors

Title

A Quantitative Study of Factors Influencing Special Education Teachers’ Attrition: The Relationships Between Burnout, Personality, and Organizational Factors

Authors

Erin Wanat

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Description

The purpose of this study was to examine if there is a relationship between independent variables—special education teachers’ emotional/interpersonal stressors, personality type, and worklife variables—and special education teachers’ burnout. Burnout is as complex as it is destructive for the special education teachers, who are likely to cite burnout as a major factor contributing to their pre-retirement departure from education. Burnout consists of three factors: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization/cynicism, and decreased estimation of personal contribution to the work. Six-hundred and ninety-two (n = 692) of Minnesota’s Tier Four licensed special education teachers participated in the study by completing a survey related to their level of burnout in three areas (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and cynicism, and personal contribution to the work). The results suggest that the incendiary origin for burnout cannot be attributed to a single source: employee and organizational fit in the areas of values, fairness, workload, and reward all heighten the potential for an increase in employee burnout. Similarly, special education teachers who can be described as neurotic/low emotional stability and agreeable are more likely to suffer from burnout than their extraverted peers. Finally, a negative relationship exists between the advancement of job tenure and age and burnout.

Publication Date

7-2021

A Quantitative Study of Factors Influencing Special Education Teachers’ Attrition: The Relationships Between Burnout, Personality, and Organizational Factors

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