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'Burnout contagion' among teachers

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Ondertitel:a social network approach
Previous studies have found that burnout is to some extent contagious and have argued it is a socially induced phenomenon. However, until now, actual social interactions and the long-term effect of this contagion have remained largely unexplored. This study aimed to expand earlier findings on burnout contagion through the application of a social network approach. This approach assumes that some relationships provide more information on the feelings and attitudes of others. This study therefore not only identified interaction partners, but also examined how characteristics (multiplexity, frequency, and embeddedness) of the relationship with those partners relate to burnout contagion. Using (temporal) network autocorrelation models, burnout contagion was empirically investigated in the context of secondary school teams. Cross-sectional analyses were performed on data obtained from 931 teachers working in 14 schools. Long-term effects of burnout contagion were assessed among 578 teachers working in 12 schools. The results showed that interpersonal interactions act as conduits for burnout contagion, especially when relations are strong in terms of frequency, embeddedness, and multiplexity. The results also showed that features of relationships play a differential role in the contagion of different components of burnout. Moreover, long-term effects were found for emotional exhaustion. This study thus provided evidence for the importance of interpersonal relationships in burnout contagion. Practitioner points Negative feelings are transmitted through personal interaction: As such, the importance of positive (social) experiences within the school team is stressed. Co-rumination should be avoided as it may impact negatively on employees' well-being in both the short term and the long term. Given the contagious nature of burnout, interventions for preventing and reducing burnout should not be solely focused on increasing social support within the school team. External support might be necessary to disrupt a potential negative cycle within this team.
Tijdschrift: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
ISSN: 0963-1798
Volume: 93
Pagina's: 328 - 352
Jaar van publicatie:2020