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Early Career Burnout Can Be Contagious Via Social Networks

Last Updated: July 14, 2017.

For early career teachers, social network members' burnout levels are associated with increased burnout levels, according to a study published in the August issue of Teaching and Teacher Education.

FRIDAY, July 14, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- For early career teachers (ECTs), social network members' burnout levels are associated with increased burnout levels, according to a study published in the August issue of Teaching and Teacher Education.

Jihyun Kim, from Michigan State University in East Lansing, and colleagues examined factors associated with burnout levels of 171 ECTs in 10 school districts in Michigan and Indiana. The authors assessed the impact of burnout levels of ECTs' mentors and close colleagues in a social network influence model.

The researchers found that ECTs' burnout levels correlated significantly with the social network exposure term, indicating that ECTs' with mentors and colleagues with higher burnout levels were more likely to be burned out at a second time point. There was a correlation for a one-unit increase in the mean social network members' burnout levels with a 0.21-unit increase in ECTs' burnout levels. Close colleagues' burnout levels correlated with ECTs' burnout levels, whereas formal mentors' burnout levels were not associated with ECTs' burnout levels. School-level organizational exposure to burnout was also associated with ECTs' burnout levels.

"We found that ECTs' burnout can be shaped by how other teachers throughout their school feel about their professional lives as well as with whom they interact," the authors write. "These findings have implications for practice."

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