School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Lisa Foster


Resident Assistants, Burnout, Peer Leadership


Education | Higher Education


Resident assistants (RAs) are vital members of the student affairs divisions of colleges and universities across the United States. As peer leaders, they are responsible for performing many duties; they must, for example, complete administrative tasks, counsel students, mediate conflict, serve as role models, assimilate students, facilitate groups, and much more. Furthermore, RAs are expected to be available for their students at all times of the day and night, responding to any situation when needed. These responsibilities come on top of their own work and academic responsibilities as college students. These varied roles and responsibilities, along with the 24-hour nature of the role, create an environment where burnout can occur. Research into RA burnout reached its peak in the 1980s with sporadic research being conducted since. Additionally, information uncovered in research articles has been inconsistent, often with one study finding one factor significant, with another finding results in direct conflict. This nonexperimental, causal-comparative study examined the role that specific factors have on burnout in RAs at a large private university in the southeastern United States. Biological sex, grade point average, and program type were the independent variables, while scores from the Maslach Burnout Inventory subscales of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment were the dependent variables. The data was analyzed through three separate multivariate analysis of variance tests. No significant differences in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, or personal accomplishment were found based on biological sex, grade point average, or program type.