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Women at Higher Risk for Burnout in School

The transition from basic education to high school is a challenge for many young people. According to a new Finnish study of school burnout at different stages, upper secondary school is a particularly challenging stage for many young people.

Researchers discovered success-oriented female students were at the greatest risk: up to 20 percent of them suffer from school burnout. Burnout is a phenomenon to be taken seriously, as it can lead to depression.

“These girls are high achievers but they also develop burnout. They tend to develop feelings of inadequacy, in particular, in upper secondary school. By contrast, boys who enter upper secondary school tend to develop more of a cynical, negative stance towards school,” says Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro of the University of Jyväskylä, who is in charge of the research.

The study was carried out at the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in Learning and Motivation Research, and comprised 1,800 young people.

The study focused particularly on students’ trajectories to well-being or problems during transitional stages in their education. “Transitions from one stage of education to the next have an impact on the well-being of young people and they need support during these life stages. A healthy level of self-esteem is a protective factor,” Salmela-Aro says.

According to Salmela-Aro, school burnout in upper secondary school tends to complicate the transition to further studies, while an enthusiasm for school tends to predict a successful transition to the next education level. “This research finding has considerable importance for the efforts to encourage young people to make a faster transition into further studies and working life.”

Medical students are the keenest

For the first time in Finland, research was also conducted on burnout and academic engagement among students in higher education. The material was provided by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) and comprised 5,200 students. Results show that one in ten students in higher education suffers from burnout and one in three is at risk. However, the good news is that one in four students in higher education feel enthusiasm for their studies. Medical students were most likely to be enthusiastic about their studies and least likely to suffer from burnout.

“Students’ engagement for their studies declines over time, which raises the question of what happens to the highly motivated students who enter higher education. A sense of optimism during university studies along with high self-esteem tend to predict job engagement ten years later on, while an avoidance strategy tends to predict work-related burnout,” Katariina Salmela-Aro says.

School burnout is a chronic school-related stress syndrome which manifests as exhaustion, cynicism about school and feelings of inadequacy. Engagement about school is characterized by energy, dedication and an ability to become absorbed in the work.

In basic education, school burnout is caused by a negative atmosphere in school, usually in the form of a stressful and restless working environment. Support from the adult staff of the school, especially the school health care services, helps reduce school burnout.

Teachers who have a positive attitude and an ability to motivate students are extremely helpful for upper secondary school students. The more encouragement the students got from their teachers, the less likely they were to experience school burnout.

Source: Academy of Finland

Women at Higher Risk for Burnout in School

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Women at Higher Risk for Burnout in School. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/05/20/women-at-higher-risk-for-burnout-in-school/6005.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 30 Jun 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jun 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.