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Falling from the ivory tower; An study of burnout in a selected third level Institute in Ireland

Author Emmet Tuite and Lavina McLean
Abstract The significance of stress and burnout in a range of areas of human services provision is clearly established (Dyer & Quine, 1998; Gray-Stanley, 2009). The current body of knowledge related to stress experienced in the education sector is largely focused on provision in primary and secondary level sectors. Third level education is presently experiencing very significant levels of change due to increased student numbers, changes in the type and range of provision available and proposed developments in relation to a reconfiguration of third level educational provision (HEA 2014, Lucey 2014, Hunt 2011). As stress is considered to impact greatly on both the individual and at an organisational level, a greater understanding of this concept may be important in this current climate of change. The psychological syndrome of burnout is regarded as one of the most serious consequences of the experience of stress, and has been found to be correlated with the various roles and activities academics are engaged in. This research aims to measure levels of burnout in a sample of academic staff in a selected third level institution in Ireland. The study utilized Maslach's burnout inventory for educational professionals (1996) to measure self-reported levels of burnout. This study is part of a broader piece of research examining emotional health and well-being in a range of professionals involved in the provision of human services. Previous research in the area of teaching has revealed high levels of stress and burnout and related this primarily to the workplace environment and job requirements within the workplace (Maslach & Jackson, 1988). This research aims to provide an accurate profile in relation to the specific risk of burnout among a group of educational professionals, and to consider these in relation to both individual and organisational factors, which can be related to the main areas within the scale used.
Keywords Stress, burnout, depersonalisation, academic staff
Published In ICEP Proceedings 2014
Date 2014
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