Identification of occupational stress and burnout in teachers of a secondary school in Mexico City

María Teresa Saltijeral Méndez, Luciana Ramos Lira



Background. Teachers are exposed to different work-related stressors and experiences. These may carry emotional and interpersonal problems deriving into the so-called burnout syndrome.

Objective. To analyze the presence and characteristics of the burnout syndrome, together with the stress sources perceived by the teachers of a junior high school in Mexico City.

Method. A mixed quantitative (the Maslach Burnout Inventory [MBI] and the Teachers’ Burnout Questionnaire [TBQ-R])-qualitative (method was used to explore opinions and comments on several issues) methodology was applied were used.

Results. The MBI showed an acceptable internal consistency in emotional exhaustion and lack of realization but not in depersonalization. The TBQ-R showed an acceptable internal consistency in role stress, burnout and lack of supervision. Third grade teachers showed higher degrees of emotional exhaustion, role stress, lack of supervision and burnout than first and second grade teachers. Qualitative results confirm that emotional exhaustion is influenced by the stress produced by the more conflictive and violent students. This causes in teachers a higher vulnerability and impotence feeling at the likelihood of becoming their victims.

Discussion and conclusion. Junior high teachers should receive a permanent training which allows them to respond to the needs of their career. Lack of motivation and interest in learning, difficulties in learning, substance abuse, lack of discipline and antisocial behaviors are among the problems teachers face with their students. We consider it is highly important they have the opportunity to channel the different problems to professionals and health institutions able to help them.


Stress; burnout; teachers; middle schools