School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


DJ Mattson


self-efficacy, job-related stress, emotional exhaustion, middle school, teacher burnout, adolescent development




Despite increasing rates of teacher burnout, research is still unclear as to the exact triggers that eventually cause it. Two potential causes that are at the forefront of discussions regarding teacher burnout are job stress and teacher self-efficacy. Gaps in research indicate that more needs to be done to understand if there is a correlation between job stress, self-efficacy, and emotional exhaustion, a core component of burnout. Research is scant regarding stress, teacher self-efficacy, and emotional exhaustion at the middle school level even though there are a multitude of factors that can increase stress and decrease efficacy. To address research gaps this study sought to better understand the relationship between job stress, teacher self-efficacy, and emotional exhaustion middle school teachers. A correlational study was conducted using a cross-sectional survey design to identify correlations between the variables of (1) job stress, (2) teacher self-efficacy, and (3) emotional exhaustion. A sample of 75 participants was taken from two school districts in South Georgia to complete three surveys: (1) the Maslach Burnout Inventory – Educators Survey emotional exhaustion subscale, (2) a single-item stress question, and (3) the Ohio State Teacher Efficacy Scale. Data collected from the surveys were analyzed using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation. The first research question pertaining to job stress and self-efficacy was statistically significant with a low to moderate negative correlation. This result indicates that as stress increased, efficacy decreased; however, efficacy remained moderately high regardless of stress level, suggesting that teachers remained resilient through the stress. Study implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.

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