Why Academics Suffer Burnout

By Matthew Reisz

The days when academe was a low-stress working environment are over, with “burnout” levels now comparable with those in other service sectors, according to an international study.

The analysis, which is based on 12 peer-reviewed studies in the United States, Britain, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands, likens levels of burnout among those who teach in higher education to those of schoolteachers and health professionals.

The authors also attempt to pinpoint the key factors that push some academics into a state characterized by “the depletion of emotional reserves (emotional exhaustion), an increasingly cynical and negative approach towards others (depersonalization) and a growing feeling of work-related dissatisfaction.”

The study, “Burnout in university teaching staff: a systematic literature review,” was published in the journal Educational Research. The research project was led by Noelle Robertson, senior lecturer in clinical psychology at the University of Leicester, and a master’s student there, Jenny Watts. Robertson and Watts, who describe their work as the first survey of the extent of burnout among full-time, non-medical university teaching staff, report that younger staff appeared more vulnerable, suffering from greater “emotional exhaustion.”

Continued at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/04/14/research_analyzes_burnout_of_
faculty_members_all_over_the_world

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