Gender seemed to have most impact on the way burnout revealed itself, the study suggests. Male lecturers typically had higher depersonalisation scores, for example, while their female peers tended to suffer more emotional exhaustion.
This probably reflected, the authors suggest, the draining effect on women who were having to “juggle multiple roles at work and at home”, on the one hand, and their reluctance to adopt “a distant, indifferent professional persona” on the other.
The researchers also report that “staff exposure to high numbers of students, especially tuition of postgraduates, strongly predicts the experience of burnout”.
However, they suggest that lecturers with qualities that might make them particularly suited to the job suffered more than their less engaged colleagues. The quality of “openness” may “make (academics) appealing tutors, encouraging greater interaction with students”, but it also appeared to “predispose teachers to burnout”, the paper says.