Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1997


Teaching is reported to be a stressful occupation and social support is thought to mediate stress. The purpose of the study was to identify relationships between the level of professional burnout and social support of high school teachers in Northeast Tennessee. In this correlational study, a sample of 228 secondary school teachers in Northeast Tennessee completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Teacher Support Network Inventory (TSNI). Respondents' satisfaction with support and amount of support were ascertained from the TSNI. Data presentation included a demographic description of the sample and a description of teachers' work support, personal support, and recreational support networks. The support networks were described by the number of relatives, teachers, principal/supervisors, and network members not in education-related work. Relationships were shown between the dimensions of burnout and each of these variables: size of the network, respondents' satisfaction with support received, and the amount of perceived support. Gender and age were also found to be factors that were related to both network structure and professional burnout. Conclusions of the study indicated that relationships exist between social support and burnout. The variable most closely related to burnout was a teacher's satisfaction with social support. Size of the personal support network was positively related to personal achievement. Principal support and support from males was inversely related to emotional exhaustion and depersonalization in work networks. Female support was inversely related to personal achievement in work networks. Differences in levels of professional burnout indicated that females had more emotional exhaustion than males. Teachers two were younger than 45 years had more emotional exhaustion and depersonalization than teachers older than 45.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access