Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


School Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Second Advisor

Lionel N. A. Matthews

Third Advisor

Jeannette McDowell-Forrest



The concept of burnout is expressed as a syndrome evidenced by chronic exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack of personal accomplishment. Burnout or work burnout syndrome is conceptualized as a prolonged process of emotional fatigue, involving loss of motivation and expectations, generating a feeling of failure affecting personal, work, and social levels (Maslach et al., 2001). Victims of burnout usually become exhausted, cynical about work-related matters, and question their capacity or ability to perform. Job burnout includes feeling exhausted physically, emotionally, and or mentally in the context of work (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). The demanding profession of school psychology has subjected practitioners to excessive caseloads, insufficient resources, lack of control in decision-making, limited administrative support, and resistant parents and teachers (Boccio et al., 2016, Dixon & Burns, 2012; Huebner et al., 2002; Lee et al., 2011). These factors have contributed to burnout, high attrition rates, and the shortage of school psychologists. George Levi et al., (2020), indicated a high risk for burnout among school psychologists due to their varied job responsibilities, especially caring for the more vulnerable. Along with these factors some researchers asserted that gender, years of experience, age, marital status, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction have influenced the level of burnout among human service providers. Prompted by previous studies, self-efficacy and job satisfaction were examined as predictors of burnout among school psychologists in the Midwest United States.


A quantitative research design was employed to predict the value of a single dependent variable, i.e., burnout, from a linear combination of independent variables: (a) self-efficacy and (b) job satisfaction. A cross-sectional design assessed the relationship between self-efficacy and job satisfaction in predicting school psychologists’ burnout. The sample included 206 participants, who completed three surveys: The Maslach Burnout Inventory--Human Service Survey, the General Self-Efficacy Scale, and the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire--Short Form. Demographic information included age, gender, years of experience, marital status, and state in which they worked. The state where they worked was removed from the analyses because it was a criterion for participation. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to answer three research questions: (a) Is there a relationship between self-efficacy and burnout among school psychologists in the Midwest United States? (b) Is there a relationship between job satisfaction and burnout among school psychologist in the Midwest United States? (c) Does self-efficacy and job satisfaction predict burnout among school psychologists in the Midwest United States, when age, years of experience, gender, and marital status are controlled?


Three levels of analysis were employed. The univariate analysis generated descriptive statistics while the bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to test the null hypothesis and answer the research questions. Descriptive findings reported that respondents included 164 females (79.6%) and 42 males (20.4%). Of the 206 respondents 164 reported that they were married (79.6%), 28 single 13.6%), 12 divorced (5.8%) and 2 widowed (1%). Years of service among the respondents ranged from less than one year to 42 years of service while participant birth years ranged from 1949 to 1997. Bivariate findings (ANOVA) indicated the difference between burnout and marital status was significant (p = 0.02); single participants experienced the most burnout while widowed school psychologists experienced the least burnout. The difference between school psychologist burnout and gender was assessed using an independent samples t-test and a Welch’s test of unequal variances; no differences were observed between males and females for this variable, t (204) = -0.226, p = 0.822. An analysis between burnout and years of experience employed a one-way ANOVA, which indicated the difference between burnout and years of experience was significant (p = 0.029). Significance was found between groups 2 (10-14 years of work experience, or those classified as juniors for the purpose of this research) and 3 (15-24 years of work experience, or those classified as midcareer) when an analysis of the differences was conducted. A Pearson's correlation was conducted to examine the relationship between school psychologists’ burnout and age, and revealed a significant inverse negative correlation, r = -0.188, p = 0.007, suggesting that burnout decreases with age. Apparently, younger school psychologists experienced more burnout than older colleagues. Multivariate analysis confirmed that the demographic variables age, work experience, and marital status, though significant in the bivariate analyses, were not significant contributors to the regression model. Self-efficacy and job satisfaction were found to be significant. Findings included a model which explained approximately 38% (adjusted R square) of the variance and was a good fit, F (13,192) = 10.498, p = .000). Thus, while self-efficacy and job satisfaction are good predictors of burnout, only self-efficacy acted as a buffer against burnout among school psychologists in the Midwest United States.


In summary, this study revealed that school psychologists classified as early career and juniors reported higher levels of burnout when compared to the senior group. Higher levels of burnout were reported among school psychologists who were not married, compared to their married or partnered counterparts. Another conclusion was that school psychologists’ self-efficacy predicted burnout; school psychologists with higher self-efficacy had lower burnout levels. Burnout among school psychologists was influenced by job satisfaction; however, contrary to expectations, higher burnout levels were found in those with higher job satisfaction.

Subject Area

Self-efficacy; Job satisfaction; Burn out (Psychology); School psychologists--Middle West