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Mental health and burnout in primary and secondary school teachers in the remote mountain areas of Guangdong Province in the People's Republic of China

Authors Zhang L, Zhao J, Xiao H, Zheng H, Xiao Y, Chen M, Chen D

Received 15 October 2013

Accepted for publication 9 December 2013

Published 17 January 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 123—130


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Lulu Zhang,1 Jingping Zhao,1 Huaqing Xiao,3 Hongbo Zheng,2 Yaonan Xiao,3 Miaoyang Chen,3 Dingling Chen3

1Mental Health Institute of the Second Xiangya Hospital, Key Laboratory of Psychiatry and Mental Health of Hunan Province, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, 2Department of Psychiatry, Guangzhou Brain Hospital, Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 3Department of Psychiatry, Luoding Dagang Hospital, Luoding, Guangdong, People's Republic of China

Background: A growing number of studies have shown that education is a work context in which professionals (teachers) seem likely to suffer from burnout that may be associated with low levels of mental health. Although there is a demonstrated need to improve the mental health and burnout levels among teachers, little is known about their mental health status, particularly with respect to graduating class teachers in remote mountain areas with undeveloped economies. The purpose of this study was to survey mental health and burnout among graduating class teachers in remote mountain areas and to examine the influence of moderating variables.
Methods: We conducted a multilevel analysis of 590 graduating class teachers from 42 primary and secondary schools in remote mountain areas of Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. The outcome variable of self-reported mental health was measured by the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90), and burnout was measured by the Chinese Maslach Burnout Inventory for primary and secondary school teachers.
Results: The status of both mental health and burnout among the respondents was significantly more troubling than the national norm used as a reference (P<0.05 or P<0.01). Each factor in the SCL-90 had a significant correlation with burnout (P<0.01). All factors of the SCL-90 were entered into the regression equation for each dimension of burnout (P<0.01). The factor having the greatest impact on emotional exhaustion and depersonalization was anxiety (beta 0.187 and 0.178, respectively). The factor having the greatest impact on reduced personal accomplishment and intellectual burnout was somatization (beta -0.214 and 0.185, respectively).
Conclusion: The current outlook for the status of mental health and burnout among teachers in remote mountain areas of Guangdong is not good. The level of mental health among these teachers is lower than the national average, and the level of burnout is higher. Mental health status has obvious effects on burnout among these teachers.

Keywords: mental health, burnout, teacher, Symptom Checklist-90, Chinese Maslach Burnout Inventory

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