Emotion-Regulation Ability, Burnout, And Job Satisfaction Among British Secondary-School Teachers

This empirical study revealed correlations between job burnout, negative emotions, poor social support, and job dissatisfaction among public school teachers. As elaborated in Brackett,Palomera, Mojsa-Kaja,Reyes, and Salovey (2010), teaching is one of the most stressful occupations. This is because teachers “experience intense, emotion-laden interactions on a daily basis and have a great number of emotional demands compared to most other professionals” (Brackett et al., 2010, p. 406). Teachers’ work stress and emotional demands could manifest emotional and physical exhaustion, cynical attitudes about teaching, reduced feelings of personal accomplishment, and lower job satisfaction (Brackett et al., 2010).

In a study with 123 sample teachers (49 men, 74 women) across three secondary schools in Kent, England, Brackett et al. investigated the relationships between teachers’ job burnout, emotions, emotion-regulation activities (ERA), social support, and job satisfaction. One advantage of this study is the use of multiple survey instruments to measure and examine various factors regarding teacher stress and burnout. Data was collected from the following five inventories.

  • Teacher burnout was measured by Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey (MBI-ES), a 22-item scale designed to assess three aspects of teachers’ burnout syndrome including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced feelings of personal accomplishment.
  • Teachers’ emotions were assessed with the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), a self-report instrument that contains two 10-item scales related to the experience of positive and negative affect within a specified time frame. 
  • The emotion-regulation ability (ERA) was assessed by the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). 
  • The perceived social support from the principal was assessed with a scale developed by Baruch-Feldman and colleagues. 
  • Job satisfaction was assessed the self-report survey by Travers and Cooper (Brackett et al., 2010). 

As discussed in Brackett et al., teaching is an emotional practice, yet there was surprisingly little research on the emotional aspects of teachers’ profession. This study showed significant correlations between teachers’ emotions, job burnout, and job satisfaction in expected directions.

Employees’ emotion-regulation abilities could help cope with stress at work. Brackett et al. (2010) concluded that teachers were able to build higher emotion-regulation abilities when they experienced more positive emotions and had greater social support from their principals. Improved emotion-regulation could lead to lower emotional exhaustion, higher job satisfaction, and feelings of more personal accomplishment (Brackett et al., 2010).


Brackett, M. A., Palomera, R., Mojsa-Kaja, J., Reyes, M., & Salovey, P. (2010). Emotion-regulation ability, burnout, and job satisfaction among British secondary-school teachers. Psychology in the Schools, 47(4), 406-417.

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