Burnout and engagement of teachers in the North West Province
Jackson, Leone Trodricht Basie
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Continuous exposure to things like high job demands, lack of job resources, change, competitiveness and rivalry, can result in stress and burnout. Stressful events may lead to ill health and might impact negatively on the work-related well-being of employees. Because of the emergence of positive (organisational) psychology, the study of positive aspects of health and well-being are increasingly popular in Occupational Health Psychology. One of these positive aspects is work engagement, which is considered to be the antipode of burnout. Successful diagnoses of work stress, burnout and work engagement is the first step in facilitating the work-related well-being of employees. To measure stress, burnout and work engagement, it is important to use reliable and valid instruments. However, there is a lack of empirical research systematically investigating burnout and work engagement in South Africa, as well as serious limitations, including poorly designed studies, a lack of sophisticated statistical analyses and poorly controlled studies. South Africa is a multicultural society and therefore, when burnout and work engagement measures are applied to different cultural groups, issues of construct equivalence becomes important. Furthermore, little information exists regarding the causes and effects of work stress, burnout and work engagement of teachers in South Africa. The general objective of this research is to standardise the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) for teachers in the North West Province, to determine causes of occupational stress for teachers, to assess the relationship between occupational stress, organisational commitment and ill-health, and to develop and test a causal model of work-related well-being for teachers in the North West Province. A cross-sectional survey design was used. Random, stratified samples of teachers in the North West Province (N = 1177) were taken. An adapted version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey (MBI-GS), the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), An Organisational Stress Screening Tool (ASSET), the Affectometer 2, the Job Characteristics Inventory (JCI), and a biographical questionnaire were administered. Descriptive statistics, Cronbach alpha coefficients, inter-item correlations, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, Pearson correlations, multivariate analysis of variance, one-way analysis of variance and t-tests were used to analyse the data. Structural equation modelling was used to test causal models of work-related well-being. Structural equation modelling confirmed a three-factor model of burnout (Exhaustion, Mental Distance and Professional Efficacy). All three factors showed acceptable internal consistencies and construct equivalence for two language groups. Structural equation modelling also confirmed a three-factor model of work engagement, consisting of Vigour, Dedication and Absorption. Two of the sub-scales, namely Vigour and Dedication showed acceptable internal consistencies. Both the MBI-GS and the UWES showed acceptable construct equivalence. The results showed that practically significant differences exist between demographic groups in their experience of burnout and work engagement. The results confirmed the construct validity and internal consistency of the ASSET. Occupational stress and low individual commitment to the organisation explained 31 % of the variance in physical and psychological ill-health. Commitment from the individual to the organisation moderated the effects of occupational stress on physical and psychological health of teachers. The results showed that role overload, unfavourable task characteristics, a lack of control and low positive affect predicted exhaustion. Favourable task characteristics, positive affect and low negative affect predicted professional efficacy. Burnout was related to physical and psychological ill-health. Regarding a model of work-related well-being, the results showed that job demands, a lack of job resources and low positive affect contributed to burnout. Burnout mediated the relationship between job demands and ill-health, while positive affect moderated the relationship between burnout and ill-health. Job resources predicted work engagement. Work engagement mediated the relationship between job resources and organisational commitment. Recommendations for future research were made.