Sample Psychology Research Paper on Professional Burnout among Students

Professional Burnout among Students

Problem statement

Professional burnout continues to attract the attention of many researchers. However, very little attention has been given to professional burnout among students. The assumption has been that students do not experience burnout during their stay in schools and if they do, nothing much can be done about them because they have to read hard to pass their examinations (Rahmati, 2015). In spite of this assumption, the fact is that professional burnout is a major problem among college and university students as it is in other professions (Walburg, 2014). In relation to this fact, the researcher proposes to conduct a study on professional burnout among students. The purpose of conducting the study will be to evaluate the effects of professional burnout on students’ performances, its causes and what can be done to reduce it among students.   

The proposed study will be of great importance to the real world because of the following reasons. First, it will evaluate the possible methods that can be used to reduce professional burnout among students. Second, the proposed study will evaluate the relationship between professional burnout and students’ performances. By evaluating the relationship between the two, the proposed study will identify the possible effect of professional burnout on students’ performances. As far as the real world is concerned, this will go a long way in dealing with some of the challenges that students experience in colleges and universities as they pursue their careers (Rahmati, 2015). Besides doing all these, the proposed study will also identify what needs to be done to minimize professional burnout among students. Based on these facts, the proposed study will be of great importance in the real world.     

Literature review

Summary

A number of studies on professional burnout have been conducted. Majority of these studies however focus their attention on police officers, nurses and other care related professions. Most of these studies show that there is strong negative correlation between organizational productivity and professional burnout. A study by Wright and Bonnet demonstrates that there is a significant negative correlation between professional burnout and organizational productivity (Wright, & Bonnet, 1997). The implication is that lack of motivation among workers to do their jobs affects the productivity of their organizations. The same results are also witnessed among students that lack the motivation to read. In most cases, their performances are affected significantly.  

Other previous studies on professional burnout show that changes in job resources and demand can be good predictors of professional burnout among workers. A study by Schaufeli, Bakker and Van-Rhenen (2009) in particular show that work overload and excessive emotional demands among workers can result to professional burnout. A cross sectional study on emotional work among nurses and physicians that was conducted by Kovacs, Kovacs and Hegedus (2010) demonstrated that there was no significant difference between professional burnout among nurses and physicians. However, the study demonstrated that nurses had higher emotional dissonance than physicians. In terms of implication, the study demonstrates that different groups of people may be stressed by different factors. As a result, it would be important to look at various aspects when evaluating the factors that contribute to professional burnout (Kushnir, & Cohen, 2006).

Looking at the professions that are concerned with serving other people, Brotheridge and Grandey (2002) evaluated the manner in which emotional work contributed to professional burnout. They established that positive feelings and deep-level control were correlated with increase in the sense of personal success. They particularly established that positive emotions reduced job burnout and enhanced employee satisfaction levels. Based on these findings, the two scholars concluded that emotional exhaustion contributed significantly to professional burnout and reduced organizational productivity (Brotheridge, & Grandey, 2002).

Research designs

Different research methods have been utilized to generate knowledge about professional burnout. Some of the research methods include descriptive research design, experimental research designs, literature review and Meta analysis as well as systematic reviews. The advantage with descriptive research design is that it evaluates professional burnout the way it is without interfering with it. It also provides a lot of information through description thereby it can be used to identify variables and testing theories and models both directly and indirectly. Nonetheless, the disadvantage with descriptive research design is that it may not be used accurately to identify the causes of a problem because of its natural setting. The Meta analysis method is concerned with evaluating the outcomes of studies that have been performed in the past. In terms of advantages, this research design enables researchers to understand issues of concern without necessarily conducting studies. It particularly enables researchers to highlight the relationship between various studies. In terms of disadvantages, the research design limits researchers from conducting their own studies. It is also vulnerable to publication bias (Rahmati, 2015). Systematic reviews are almost similar to Meta analysis, but systematic reviews are fine-tuned to address some challenges experienced in Meta analysis. The advantage of systematic review is that it narrows its focus on a particular area. Although this may act as an advantage, it may as well act as a disadvantage.    

The literature review research design is concerned with evaluating what previous studies have found concerning an area of interest. In professional burnout, it is concerned with evaluating what previous studies in this field of study have done and probably shown. The main advantage of literature review is that it provides a summary of what has been done and to some extent what has not been done. This provides a good ground for future studies (Walburg, 2014). In terms of disadvantage, the research design limits researchers from conducting their studies.    

The experimental research is concerned with altering factors that are thought to contribute to an issue under investigation for one group and comparing the results of that group with the results of another group whose factors have not been altered. The advantage of this research design is that it can be used to draw causal conclusions. The disadvantage is that the research method might create artificial situations that may not be real. Although this is a good aspect in casual studies, it may affect the outcomes of a study.      

Appropriateness

The proposed study will utilize descriptive research design as its main methodology. This will involve collecting the data the way it is from research participants and analyzing it to get an insight of professional burnout among students and its effects on their performances. The proposed research design will be the right one for research questions because it will not interfere with the factors that cause professional burnout among students. Furthermore, it will provide more information on professional burnout among students through description.  

A summary of the uncertainty

Based on the above literature review, it is clear that professional burnout has been shown to reduce organizational productivity in various fields. However, although the same results are expected among students and their performances when they experience professional burnout, there is little literature on professional burnout among students. Previous studies have also established that students experience burnout during their stay in school. In terms of consequences, a study by Walburg (2014) has highlighted a number of risk factors as well as mental health consequences among students that experience burnout. In spite of doing this, majority of studies in this field of study have not focused their attention on the effects of professional burnout on students’ performances. As a result, there is need to evaluate the effects of professional burnout on students’ performances. The proposed study aims at bridging the gap by evaluating the effects that professional burnout among students has on their performances.

Research questions

The following will be the research questions for the proposed study.

  1. What is the relationship between professional burnout and students’ performances?
  2. What are the main causes of professional burnout among students?
  3. What can be done to reduce professional burnout among students?

Research hypothesis

With regard to the first research question, it has been hypothesized that there will be a strong negative correlation between professional burnout and students’ performances. The following will be the null and alternative hypotheses for the first research question.

Null hypothesis

There is no correlation between professional burnout and students’ performances. 

Alternative hypothesis

There is a strong negative correlation between professional burnout and students’ performances.

With regard to the second research question, it has been hypothesized that some of the causes of professional burnout among students will include long years of study, lack of motivation, and frustration.

With regard to the third research question, it has been hypothesized that motivation and encouragement can be used to help students to deal with professional burnout.

References

Brotheridge, C. & Grandey, A. (2002). Emotional labor and burnout: Comparing two perspectives of “people work”. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 60(1), 17-39.

Kovacs, M., Kovacs, E. & Hegedus, K. (2010). Is emotional dissonance more prevalent in oncology care? Emotion work, burnout and coping. Psychooncology, (8), 855-862.

Kushnir, T. & Cohen, A. (2006). Job structure and burnout among primary care pediatricians. Work, 27(1), 67-74.

Rahmati, Z. (2015). The study of academic burnout in students with high and low level of self efficacy. Procedia – social and behavioral sciences, 171, 49-55.

Schaufeli, W., Bakker, A. & Van-Rhenen, W. (2009). How changes in job demands and resources predict burnout, work engagement, and sickness absenteeism. Journal of Organizational Behavior 30(7), 893 – 917.

Walburg, V. (2014). Burnout among high school students: a literature review. Children and youth service review, 42, 28-33. 

Wright, T. & Bonett, D. (1997). The contribution of burnout to work performance. Journal of organizational behavior, 18(5), 491-499.