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School burnout in adolescents : Differences in background variables and exploration of school-related stress at the end of compulsory schooling
Ricerche di Psicologia
The aim of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of the risk factors associated with school burnout, which has recently been described as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion due to school demands, cynical and detached attitude towards school and feelings of inadequacy as a student (Salmela-Aro, Kiuru, Pietikainen & Jokela, 2008a). The research focuses on students in the last years of compulsory schooling, period in which burnout has not received much attention yet. A total of 342 adolescents (Mean age = 14.84) were asked to complete questionnaires about school burnout, school-related stress and background variables. The results showed differences in school burnout by gender, grade level and school track, with girls, last grade of compulsory school and high-track classes, showing the highest scores. No difference was observed with respect to grade retention. Several types of school stress were identified, with stress type Success related to pressures to succeed and concerns about the academic future being the highest. Finally, stress and burnout were strongly and positively correlated, and the type of stress Success was the best predictor of overall Burnout, Exhaustion and Inadequacy dimension scores. The results are discussed in relation to their theoretical relevance and implications for the prevention of school burnout in adolescents.
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