Making sense of burnout: A reflexive thematic analysis of how teachers in England discuss and encounter the term burnout.

Article


Soames, M. and Willis, M. 2023. Making sense of burnout: A reflexive thematic analysis of how teachers in England discuss and encounter the term burnout. Qualitative Health Research. 34 (1-2), pp. 61-71. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732323120363
AuthorsSoames, M. and Willis, M.
Abstract

Despite extensive research looking at the phenomenon of burnout, little is known about how individuals working in traditionally high-burnout occupations understand the term. Interviews were conducted with six teachers working in state schools in England centring on how the term burnout was understood and how it was used or encountered. Reflexive thematic analysis was employed from a critical realist perspective to analyse the data generated. All participants described burnout as a stress related condition, yet for some participants the point at which stress became burnout was unclear leading to an understanding that burnout was the point at which one was unable to work. Many participants highlighted an individualistic understanding of burnout, perceiving it as representing an individual deficit rather than an organisational failing. This was often reinforced by where the term was encountered (at work or in the media), and was linked to the stigma many participants associated with burnout. This paper concludes that individualistic framings of burnout obscure its organisational determinants while reinforcing notions that mental well-being is something which should be personally – and privately – managed by individuals.

KeywordsBurnout; Occupational Health; Education; Teaching; Teachers; Work stress; Thematic analysis
JournalQualitative Health Research
Journal citation34 (1-2), pp. 61-71
ISSN1049-7323
Year2023
PublisherSAGE Publications
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732323120363
Publication dates
Online16 Oct 2023
PrintJan 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted04 Sep 2023
Deposited19 Sep 2023
Copyright holder© 2023, The Authors
Copyright informationUsers who receive access to an article through a repository are reminded that the article is protected by copyright and reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses. Users may also download and save a local copy of an article accessed in an institutional repository for the user's personal reference.
Additional information

This article is accepted to be published into Qualitative Health Research, and the final version of record is available upon publication on the journal's website: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/10497323231203639

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