A study of individual responses to bullying as a function of teacher burnout

Wanda J Rice, Tennessee State University


It is hypothesized that factors related to teacher burnout influence responses to bullying behaviors. This study hypothesizes that teachers with a higher degree of burnout are less likely to respond to bullying behaviors and it further hypothesizes that those with greater years of teaching are less likely to respond to bullying behaviors. Of particular interest was the relationship between teacher burnout and both length of teaching and level of punitive response in relationship to perceived seriousness of the bullying behavior. A population of 41 teachers from a suburban Middle Tennessee school district at the elementary school level was sought for responses. Bullying can be linked to school violence and the decrease of academic achievement and low self-esteem (Bulach, Fulbright, & Williams, 2003; Shears, 2002; Beane, 1999). The dynamics of bullying and the nature of the problem, according to teachers, was examined in this study. Burnout is a true psychological condition that negatively affects every aspect of a teacher's life. Additionally, teachers who experience burnout have three categories of dimensions and symptoms: Exhaustion, Depersonalization and Diminished Personal achievement as measured by The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI-ES). The MBI-ES is a 22-item measure using self report along an ordinal seven-point rating scale. To examine teacher responses to bullying a Bullying Perception Inventory with 16 Lickert-type questions depicting bullying situations was used to determine how teachers would respond to bullying. In addition, the instrument asks for demographic information of gender, number of years of teaching experience and current grade(s) being taught. For each question, an assortment of answers is offered. This allowed the researcher to analyze the responses of bullying in the study. The Maslach Burnout Inventory is one of the most widely used measuring instruments for assessing the construct of Burnout. The Bullying Perception Inventory was designed specifically for the research of Bush (2009); his research committee found the survey to be valid for the study; therefore there were no other tests of validity and reliability available for review. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlation and t-tests to meet the research objectives of this study. Findings of this study revealed no significant difference in length of teaching and teacher's responses to bullying behaviors. Nor was there a finding of significant difference between teachers with low versus high burnout levels on teachers' likelihood of responding to bullying behaviors.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Middle School education|Teacher education|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Wanda J Rice, "A study of individual responses to bullying as a function of teacher burnout" (2013). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3612228.