Burnout and compassion fatigue: A review of conceptual and operational perspectives
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A significant number of studies have been conducted on teacher burnout, defined as a syndrome of depersonalization, reduced feelings of personal accomplishment, and emotional exhaustion due to prolonged exposure to workplace stress (Maslach, 2003; Maslach & Jackson, 1981). Although research on teacher burnout is extensive, few researchers have questioned whether the operationalized construct and measured symptoms of burnout are the most appropriate in understanding teacher’s negative social-emotional experiences. This review examines the ways in which burnout in teacher populations is often defined and measured, contrasting the consistencies and inconsistencies in the context of burnout research. In addition, compassion fatigue is introduced as a construct that may better our understanding of the negative social-emotional experiences of teachers.