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Community violence has reached concerning proportions in El Salvador, possibly affecting all sectors of society. To date, little attention has focused on the effects of violence exposure on educators in Central American countries. This study examined the relationships between lifetime community violence exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, and burnout in 2 independent samples of elementary and high school teachers in El Salvador—Study 1 (N = 193) and Study 2 (N = 257). Findings indicated that teachers across both samples were exposed to multiple violent events over their lifetimes. Results of 2 separate regression analyses with bootstrapping indicated significant indirect effects of violence exposure on burnout through PTSD symptomatology across these independent samples. These results suggest that teachers who were exposed to more frequent lifetime violence were at greater risk for occupational burnout, and this link was partly attributable to PTSD symptomatology. These findings implicate teachers’ exposure to violence as a potentially disruptive influence in educational settings and underscore the need for developing strategies for training and support of teachers in El Salvador and other educators working in high violence, postconflict Central American settings.
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International Perspectives in Psychology:
Research, Practice, Consultation
Exposure to Violence, Posttraumatic Stress, and Burnout
Among Teachers in El Salvador: Testing a Mediational
Lisseth Rojas-Flores, Sofia Herrera, Joseph M. Currier, Joshua D. Foster, Katharine M. Putman,
Ashli Roland, and David W. Foy
Online First Publication, January 26, 2015.
Rojas-Flores, L., Herrera, S., Currier, J. M., Foster, J. D., Putman, K. M., Roland, A., & Foy, D.
W. (2015, January 26). Exposure to Violence, Posttraumatic Stress, and Burnout Among
Teachers in El Salvador: Testing a Mediational Model. International Perspectives in
Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation. Advance online publication.
Exposure to Violence, Posttraumatic Stress, and Burnout Among
Teachers in El Salvador: Testing a Mediational Model
Lisseth Rojas-Flores and Sofia Herrera
Fuller Theological Seminary Joseph M. Currier and Joshua D. Foster
University of South Alabama
Katharine M. Putman
Azusa Pacific University Ashli Roland
Fuller Theological Seminary
David W. Foy
Pepperdine University
Community violence has reached concerning proportions in El Salvador, possibly
affecting all sectors of society. To date, little attention has focused on the effects of
violence exposure on educators in Central American countries. This study examined the
relationships between lifetime community violence exposure, posttraumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, and burnout in 2 independent samples of elementary
and high school teachers in El Salvador—Study 1 (N193) and Study 2 (N257).
Findings indicated that teachers across both samples were exposed to multiple violent
events over their lifetimes. Results of 2 separate regression analyses with bootstrapping
indicated significant indirect effects of violence exposure on burnout through PTSD
symptomatology across these independent samples. These results suggest that teachers
who were exposed to more frequent lifetime violence were at greater risk for occupa-
tional burnout, and this link was partly attributable to PTSD symptomatology. These
findings implicate teachers’ exposure to violence as a potentially disruptive influence in
educational settings and underscore the need for developing strategies for training and
support of teachers in El Salvador and other educators working in high violence,
postconflict Central American settings.
Keywords: community violence exposure, PTSD, teacher burnout, occupational stress, El Salvador
In addition to promoting academic develop-
ment in the classroom, teachers frequently play
an integral and multifaceted role in mitigating
the effects of social disorder in their communi-
ties by acting as educators, mentors, counselors,
advocates, and role models for the country’s
next generation. Teachers often serve a protec-
tive function in conjunction with students’ fam-
ilies, or at times even in place of inadequate
family supports, by providing much needed so-
cial resources (Croninger & Lee, 2001; Klem &
Connell, 2004; Springer, Parcel, Baumler, &
Ross, 2006). However, in so doing, they often
place themselves in proximity to violence and
may experience trauma on a number of levels.
Given security problems and lack of resources
for many schools in El Salvador (e.g., lack of
access to training, inadequate security, underde-
veloped mental health services), coupled with
the recent civil war, a series of natural disasters
(e.g., earthquakes; Sattler et al., 2006), and
criminal and institutional violence (Lopez-
Reyes, 1997), Salvadoran teachers may con-
front trauma on many levels. For example, they
Lisseth Rojas-Flores and Sofia Herrera, Graduate School
of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary; Joseph M.
Currier and Joshua D. Foster, Psychology Department, Uni-
versity of South Alabama; Katharine M. Putman, Depart-
ment of Graduate Psychology, Azusa Pacific University;
Ashli Roland, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theo-
logical Seminary; David W. Foy, Graduate School of Edu-
cation and Psychology, Pepperdine University.
Correspondence concerning this article should be ad-
dressed to Lisseth Rojas-Flores, Graduate School of Psy-
chology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 180 North Oakland
Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. E-mail:
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International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation © 2015 American Psychological Association
2015, Vol. 4, No. 2, 000 2157-3883/15/$12.00
can be exposed to trauma vicariously through
hearing stories of pain and suffering, witnessing
the effects of violence among students and fam-
ilies, or by being directly traumatized them-
selves. The accumulation of such indirect and
direct experiences of violence may impair
teachers’ psychological functioning and capac-
ity to meet work demands. The purpose of this
research was to explore rates of violence expo-
sure and to test direct and indirect associations
between violence exposure and burnout via lev-
els of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
symptoms. Given the pervasive and endemic
history of violence in El Salvador, we were
interested as to whether the same pattern of
results would emerge in two independent sam-
History of Violence in El Salvador
El Salvador has been noted to be one of the
world’s most violent countries in recent decades
(Geneva Declaration Secretariat, 2011). Fol-
lowing years of militarization and political vio-
lence, the country had a brutal civil war from
1980 to 1992 that resulted in 75,000 deaths.
Despite a peace accord that promised social and
economic renewal, the threat of violence has not
abated. Estimates have suggested that 50,000
Salvadorans have been killed since 1992, a fig-
ure approaching the total number of deaths in
the country as a result of the war (Richani,
2010). The Atlas of Violence in El Salvador
reported that in 2011 there were 70.1 homicides
per 100,000 persons in the country (Córdova,
Tablas, Figueroa, & Salguero, 2012). In addi-
tion, according to data from the Latin American
Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) that compared
El Salvador with other nations in the region, El
Salvador ranked near the top for violent crime
victimization (e.g., assault, armed robbery),
with almost a quarter (24%) of the 1,550 per-
sons surveyed being the victim of a violent
crime, and 40% having someone in their house-
hold victimized in the previous year (The World
Bank, 2011). Given these statistics, it is not
surprising that nearly half (44%) of Salvadorans
surveyed in the LAPOP reported feeling unsafe
in their communities at the time of the study
(World Bank, 2011).
Factors contributing to violence in postwar El
Salvador are complex and wide-ranging (see
Farah, 2011; Richani, 2010). Beyond the chal-
lenges of a postconflict culture, persistent pov-
erty, social exclusion/inequality, underemploy-
ment, rapid urbanization, and expansion of
marginal “colonias” (or barrios) have weakened
the state’s capacity to promote security for its
citizens (Richani, 2010). Similar to other Cen-
tral American nations, El Salvador’s rates of
violence have also been exacerbated by an in-
crease in gang activity and drug trafficking
(Farah, 2011; Jütersonke, Muggah, & Rodgers,
2009; Rodgers & Muggah, 2009; Richani,
2010; The World Bank, 2011). In addition, be-
tween 2001 and 2010, policy changes in the
United States led to the deportation of 2.8
million immigrants, the majority of whom came
from Central America and Mexico (Office of
Immigration Statistics, 2010). Many of these
deportees lacked resources to legally meet the
demands of life in El Salvador (e.g., education,
familial ties, Spanish language ability), and pur-
sued personal security and stability by repro-
ducing gang structures and maintaining alli-
ances with U.S. counterparts. The interplay of
all aforementioned factors contributed to the
rise of insidious and widespread community
violence (CV) that most Salvadorans, including
teachers, had to deal with on a daily basis.
Community Violence Exposure
Research on violence exposure typically fo-
cuses on a number of possible events (e.g.,
physical and sexual assault, mugging, gang ac-
tivity, domestic violence, and life-threatening
accidents), which may assess both direct victim-
ization and indirect exposure (i.e., witnessing
violence, hearing about violence, or knowing
about/knowing people involved in incidents).
For this study, we investigated the effect of total
lifetime violence exposure among teachers. Al-
though rates of violence exposure have been
documented among persons living in underpriv-
ileged areas in the United States, examination of
teachers’ direct and indirect exposure to vio-
lence has been largely overlooked in domestic
(Espelage et al., 2013) and international settings
(Galand, Lecocq, & Philipot, 2007). Despite the
underrepresentation of Central Americans as a
whole in the research literature, a study con-
ducted by Putman et al. (2009) with Guatema-
lan aid workers found that lifetime rates of
violence exposure were relatively high among
Latin Americans when compared with U.S.
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populations. Guatemalan aid workers had expe-
rienced an average of eight indirect violence
and an average of six direct acts of violence.
The most common direct exposure events were
seeing a dead body (67%), being mugged or
beaten up (73%), and being in a life-threatening
accident (63%; Putman et al., 2009). Given that
Guatemala and El Salvador share a border, and
in light of the role similarities between the local
aid workers in the Putman et al. (2009) study
and the teachers from the present studies, it was
anticipated that high rates of violence exposure
would emerge for Salvadoran teachers in this
Community Violence and PTSD
Although research on trauma-related distress
has also largely neglected Central American
populations, the link between violence exposure
and PTSD has been well documented in U.S.
and international samples (see, Birmes et al.,
2001; Brown, Hill, & Lambert, 2005; Marshall
& Orlando, 2002; Panter-Brick, Eggerman,
Gonzalez, & Safdar, 2009; Scarpa, Haden, &
Hurley, 2006; Walling, Eriksson, Putman, &
Foy, 2011). Several studies also found that the
risk for PTSD was associated with a greater
accumulation of violence events and/or severity
of the incidents (Brown et al., 2005; Scarpa et
al., 2006). In addition, in a study of 4,000
adult women, Resnick and colleagues (1993)
found that lifetime prevalence of PTSD was
three times higher among those who were vic-
timized by a violent crime than noncrime vic-
tims (25.8% vs. 9.4% of lifetime PTSD cases).
A strong body of research has found that al-
though men are often exposed to violence more
frequently than are women (Scarpa et al., 2006),
women are frequently at greater risk for devel-
oping PTSD as a result of violence exposure
(Brewin, Andrews, Rose, & Kirk, 1999; Scarpa
et al., 2006). Similarly, in a study examining
PTSD among 300 adult participants in the af-
termath of the civil war in El Salvador, females
reported significantly more general distress and
PTSD symptoms than males (De Castillo et al.,
2004). Thus, we controlled for the effects of
gender in our study as a way of accounting for
these probable patterns in our studies.
Research has shown that traumatization can
occur by indirect exposure to potentially trau-
matic events. For instance, in a study of 284
urban teachers and development workers in the
United States, Walling et al. (2011) found that
indirect exposure to violence was positively re-
lated with PTSD symptoms, even when control-
ling for rates of direct violence exposure. These
results align with general findings on vicarious
trauma that indirect exposure can lead to PTSD
for persons who work with survivors of trauma
and violence such as social workers, mental
health counselors, nurses, and other helping
professionals (Collins & Long, 2003; Salston &
Figley, 2003). In a recent article on violence and
teachers in the United States, Espelage et al.
(2013) noted that violence against teachers is
often overlooked, and summarized research
findings documenting that working in urban set-
tings and being male are additional risk factors
for violence exposure among teachers. Elemen-
tary and high school educators in El Salvador,
like therapists and nurses, can place themselves
in proximity to suffering by repeatedly hearing
their students’ traumatic narratives and witness-
ing the deleterious impact of violence exposure.
Hence, there is a need to further explore the
effects of lifetime CV exposure in this popula-
Burnout and PTSD Symptomatology
A key mental health concern for Salvadoran
teachers is work-related burnout. This construct
refers to a process that may develop for persons
with demanding jobs in response to severe/
chronic stressors (Doolittle, 2007; Fry, 1995).
Burnout can be characterized by a range of
possible physiological (e.g., fatigue, headaches,
hypertension), emotional (e.g., emotional ex-
haustion, depression, anxiety), behavioral (e.g.,
insomnia, decline in performance, social with-
drawal, and other interpersonal difficulties), and
cognitive (e.g., self-doubt, guilt, sense of disil-
lusionment) difficulties (Maslach, Jackson, &
Leiter, 1996; Moon and Hur, 2011; Salston &
Figley, 2003; Shirom, 2002; Shyman, 2010).
Exposure to violence can impair the ability to
engage meaningfully in one’s work (Putman et
al., 2009; Whealin et al., 2007). Furthermore,
psychological distress (e.g., anxiety, depression,
and somatic problems) and violence exposure in
the school have been related to lower profes-
sional functioning and lower efficacy in the
classroom among teachers in Europe and the
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United States (Galand et al., 2007; Wilson,
Douglas, & Lyon, 2011). In addition, recent
findings with both Guatemalan aid workers
(Putman et al., 2009) and personnel in caring
professions, such as emergency workers in the
United States (Schutt & Marotta, 2011), suggest
that PTSD symptomatology might be a critical
risk factor for burnout among violence-exposed
groups, even when accounting for severity of
participants’ trauma histories. Given compara-
ble challenges facing Salvadoran teachers, they
in turn might be similarly at risk for developing
burnout, and PTSD symptomatology could play
a key role in understanding possible decrements
in work-related functioning in this population as
Study Aims and Hypotheses
Violence exposure and its consequences for
teachers in El Salvador is a significant yet un-
derstudied concern in that country. Drawing on
information from two groups of Salvadoran
teachers, the present research was designed to
explore rates of direct and indirect exposure to
violence events and to delineate the effects of
total lifetime violence exposure on burnout via
a possible pathway of PTSD symptomatology
(i.e., indirect effect). Based on prior empirical
and theoretical work, we expect that teachers
who were exposed to more frequent lifetime
violence will experience higher rates of burn-
out, and this link will at least partly be ex-
plained by more severe PTSD symptomatology.
Participants and Procedures
Both the studies reported in this article were
conducted in collaboration with the Diocese of
the Anglican Episcopal Church and the Minis-
try of Education in El Salvador. Study 1 (N
193) was conducted in July 2007, and Study 2
(N257) was conducted in March 2012. The
research procedures were largely the same for
both studies. Following institutional review and
approval (Graduate School of Psychology,
Fuller Theological Seminary), teachers were re-
cruited through advertisements from the Office
of the Ministry of Education across the educa-
tional departments in El Salvador. Participants
completed research procedures prior to attend-
ing a free, psycho-educational workshop on
coping with effects of trauma and stress. On
each participant’s arrival, the study procedures
and purpose were explained in detail in Spanish.
Participants were informed that their participa-
tion was voluntary and that they could attend
the workshop even if they declined to partici-
pate in the study. The survey lasted 60 min for
each study, and research assistants were avail-
able to answer questions and debrief the partic-
ipants following completion of measures. Per-
sons who attended the workshop were offered a
light meal and US$7.00 to defer travel costs,
regardless of their involvement in the studies.
Of those teachers who attended the workshop,
fewer than 5% declined participation in either
study. (Refer to Table 1 for descriptions of the
two samples.)
Each participant completed a questionnaire
for Study 1 or Study 2 assessing his or her
demographic and professional background, vi-
olence exposure, PTSD symptoms, and burnout.
Whenever available, Spanish language versions
of measures with established psychometric
properties were implemented. Graduate re-
search assistants in clinical psychology trans-
lated the remaining instruments into Spanish. A
Salvadoran psychologist and researcher (second
author) revised all measures to ensure the lan-
guage reflected the regionalisms of El Salvador.
As a final step, the study measures were back-
translated into English to ensure the original
meaning and intent of the questions remained
Violence exposure. A variation of the Sur-
vey of Exposure to Community Violence
(SECV; Richters & Saltzman, 1990) was used
to measure exposure to violence in both studies.
In Urrutia’s (1995) previous study in El Salva-
dor, construct validity was established when the
SECV was found to positively correlate with
PTSD symptoms on the Los Angeles Symptoms
Checklist (LASC). Putman et al. (2009) imple-
mented a similar version of the SECV success-
fully in Guatemala. The measure includes items
that are relevant to the experience of community
and war-related violence in El Salvador. The
measure used in Study 1 included 35 items
about whether teachers had experienced a num-
ber of common violence events in El Salvador
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(see Table 2). Two indices were calculated to
obtain an overall estimation of participants’ vi-
olence exposure; a direct victimization index of
21 items and an indirect scale derived by sum-
ming 14 questions related to witnessing or hear-
ing about violence. Study 2 incorporated the
same items for the direct exposure index, but
used an expanded version of the indirect sub-
scale in which items assessing vicarious expo-
sure (i.e., hearing about trauma) and witnessing
violence were separated. For the purpose of
comparing rates of violence exposure across the
samples in this article, these latter items were
collapsed to form a single index of indirect
exposure for Study 2 (i.e., endorsing witnessing
and/or hearing about the different violence
events was coded as indirect exposure). These
subscales were based on item groupings used in
previous research with the SECV (Putman et al.,
2009; Walling et al., 2011).
PTSD symptomatology. Both studies re-
lied on a 17-item subscale assessing PTSD
symptomatology from the LASC (King, King,
Leskin, & Foy, 1995), a measure that had been
implemented successfully across three different
geographical regions in El Salvador (Urrutia,
1995). Similarly, Putman and colleagues (2009)
had successfully used this translation in Guate-
mala. The measure incorporated the three symp-
tom domains of PTSD as defined by the DSM–IV:
reexperiencing (three items; e.g., nightmares, in-
trusive memories), avoidance (six items; e.g.,
emotional numbness, avoidance of reminders),
and hyperarousal (eight items; e.g., irritability, ex-
cessive jumpiness). Participants rated the extent to
which each symptom had been a problem during
the previous month. Responses ranged from 0
not a problem to 2 an extreme problem in Study
1 (possible range 0–34), and 0 not a problem
to4an extreme problem in Study 2 (possible
range 068). The total scores were considered
in both samples in order to provide a holistic
representation of PTSD symptom severity. To
meet PTSD diagnostic criteria, a respondent must
endorse an appropriate combination of symptoms
with a rating of two or higher in the three symp-
tom domains. A partial PTSD diagnosis may be
considered if a respondent endorses two of the
Table 1
Demographic Features and Occupational Backgrounds of Participants
Study 1 (N193) Study 2 (N257)
MSD n(%)MSDN(%)
Age in years 40.07 8.97 41.35 11.68
Female 127 (66.8) 176 (68.3)
Marital Status
Married 107 (56.0) 116 (45.2)
Unmarried but live with partner 18 (9.4) 22 (8.5)
Separated/divorced 17 (8.9) 31 (11.9)
Widowed 4 (2.1) 5 (1.9)
Single (never married) 45 (23.6) 83 (32.4)
Area of residence
Rural 112 (58.1) 34 (13.1)
Urban 81 (41.9) 223 (86.9)
Educational sector
Public 161 (83.4) 216 (83.9)
Private/parochial 28 (14.5) 38 (15.0)
Both 2 (1.0) 3 (1.0)
Area of work
Rural 144 (74.6) 53 (20.7)
Urban 44 (23.8) 200 (77.9)
Both 3 (1.6) 4 (1.5)
Current position
Classroom teacher 95 (49.7) 215 (83.7)
Administrator 80 (41.8) 35 (13.6)
Both 16 (8.5) 7 (2.7)
Number of years experience 15.34 1.89 15.44 10.29
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Table 2
Rates of Direct and Indirect Exposure to Violent Events
Study 1 (N193) Study 2 (N257)
n(%) n(%)
Direct exposure
I have been chased by gangs or individuals. 48 (24.9) 32 (12.5)
I have been asked to use, sell, or help distribute illegal drugs. 8 (4.1) 0 (0.0)
I have been in a serious accident where I thought that
someone would get hurt very badly or die. 80(41.5) 54 (21.0)
I have been at home when someone has broken into or tried
to force their way into the house or apartment. 37 (19.2) 21 (8.2)
I have been picked-up, arrested or taken away by the police. 13 (6.7) 5 (1.9)
I have been threatened with serious physical harm by
someone. 51 (26.4) 28 (10.9)
I have been slapped, hit, or punched by a family member. 46 (23.8) 35 (13.6)
I have been slapped, hit, or punched by someone who is not
a member of my family. 26 (13.5) 9 (3.5)
I have been beaten up or mugged. 116 (60.1) 78 (30.4)
I have been sexually assaulted or raped. 23 (11.9) 16 (6.2)
I have seen someone carrying or holding a gun or a knife (do
not include police, security officers, or military). 89 (46.1) 133 (51.8)
I have been attacked or stabbed with a knife. 13(6.7) 11 (4.3)
I have been seriously wounded in an incident of violence. 7 (3.6) 3 (1.2)
I have been shot, or shot at with a gun. 11 (5.7) 4 (1.6)
I have seen a dead person somewhere in the community (do
not include wakes or funerals). 133 (68.9) 116 (45.1)
I have seen someone committing suicide. 18 (9.3) 2 (0.8)
I have seen someone being killed by another person. 25 (13.0) 32 (12.5)
I have been so sick that I could have died. 44 (22.8) 66 (25.7)
I have lived in a war where there was fighting, people hurt,
or dead bodies. 110 (57.0) 102 (39.7)
I have been in a big earthquake that badly damaged the
building I was in. 67 (34.7) 108 (42.0)
I have been in another kind of disaster like a fire, hurricane,
or flood. 53 (27.5) 76 (29.6)
Indirect exposure
I have seen or know someone who was chased by gangs or
individuals. 94 (48.7) 156 (60.7)
I have seen or know someone who was asked to use, sell, or
help distribute illegal drugs. 37 (19.2) 43 (16.7)
I have seen or know someone who was in a serious accident. 99(51.3) 137 (53.3)
I have seen or know someone who was picked-up, arrested or
taken away by the police. 100 (51.8) 160 (62.3)
I have seen or know someone who was threatened with
serious physical harm by another person. 82 (42.5) 93 (36.2)
I have seen or know someone who was slapped, hit, or
punched by a family member. 84 (43.5) 119 (46.3)
I have seen or know someone who was slapped, hit, or
punched by someone who is not a member of the family. 79 (40.9) 74 (28.8)
I have seen or know someone who was beaten up or mugged. 103 (53.4) 131 (51.0)
I have seen or know someone who was sexually assaulted or
raped. 54 (28.0) 74 (28.8)
I have seen or know someone who was attacked or stabbed
with a knife. 42 (21.8) 70 (27.2)
I have seen or know someone who was seriously wounded in
an incident of violence. 8 (3.9) 87 (33.9)
I have seen or know someone who was shot, or shot at with
a gun. 30 (15.5) 46 (17.9)
I know someone who committed suicide. 99 (51.3) 91 (35.4)
I have seen or know someone who was murdered. 125 (64.8) 143 (55.6)
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three criteria. Cronbach’s alphas for the full LASC
were .83 for Study 1 and .92 for Study 2.
Burnout. The emotional exhaustion scale
from the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI;
Maslach et al., 1996) was used to assess burnout
in the first study. The scale consists of nine
items assessing feelings of being emotionally
overextended and exhausted by one’s work. Re-
sponses were based on a 4-point scale regarding
the frequency with which participants may ex-
perience emotional exhaustion, with anchor
points of 0 never to 3 everyday (possible
range 0–27). Cronbach’s alpha was .74 for
this MBI subscale in Study 1. For parsimony’s
sake, based on Shirom (1989) and Doménech-
Betoret’s (2009) support for a single dimension
construct of burnout, only the emotional ex-
haustion subscale of the MBI was included.
The Shirom–Melamed Burnout Measure
(SMBM; Shirom, 2002) was used in Study 2 to
assess burnout. The SMBM is a 14-item self-
report questionnaire assessing physical fatigue
(five items), cognitive weariness (five items),
and emotional exhaustion (four items). Re-
sponses ranged from 0 never or almost never
to 6 always or almost always (possible
range 084). The items were scored to pro-
vide an overall composite of the second set of
participants’ work-related burnout. Cronbach’s
alpha was .93 for the total SMBM in Study 2.
Rates of Violence Exposure
Rates of violence exposure are presented in
Table 2 and descriptive statistics (means, stan-
dard deviations, and ranges) for those variables
are outlined at the bottom of Table 3. The
average number of direct exposures to violence
for Study 1 was 5 (range 0–15). Rates of
direct victimization were generally lower
among teachers in the second sample; the aver-
age number of events was 4 (range 0–12).
The top five direct experiences of violence in
Study 1 included seeing a dead body, being
physically assaulted, experiencing war-related
violence, seeing someone holding a gun/knife,
and being involved in a life-threatening acci-
dent. Roughly a quarter to one half of the Study
2 teachers reported direct experiences with see-
ing someone carrying a gun/knife, seeing a dead
person in their community, being beaten up or
mugged, or experiencing war-related violence.
In addition, a quarter to one third of teachers
across the two groups indicated exposure to
other noninterpersonal potentially traumatic ex-
periences that had occurred in the country over
recent years (e.g., earthquakes and other natural
Lifetime rates of indirect exposure were
largely equivalent across the two groups. On
average, teachers in Study 1 had experienced
seven indirect exposures to violence (range
0–14), and in Study 2 the average number of
indirect events was 8 (range 0–15). Over half
of each sample had seen or known someone
who was mugged or beaten up, was murdered,
was picked up or arrested by the police, or had
been in a serious accident. The most common of
these types of indirect exposures from Study 1
were seeing or knowing someone who was mur-
dered, was seriously injured by a violent act,
was beaten up or mugged, picked up by the
police, or involved in a life-threatening acci-
Table 3
Bivariate Correlations Between Study Variables
Study 1 (N193) Study 2 (N257)
1) Violence exposure—indirect .74
— .69
2) Violence exposure—direct .92
— .83
3) Violence exposure—total .19
— .21
4) Posttraumatic stress .48
— .59
5) Burnout
M6.17 5.29 11.46 7.23 7.48 8.58 3.67 12.25 14.85 15.81
SD 3.99 3.29 6.78 4.83 4.63 6.94 2.72 9.03 10.64 9.52
Range 0–15 0–15 0–30 0–21 0–22 0–14 0–12 0–26 0–56 0–49
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dent. Similarly, over half of the Study 2 had also
seen or known someone who was picked up by
police, was chased by gangs, was murdered,
involved in a serious accident, or beaten up or
With regards to posttraumatic symptomatol-
ogy, teachers endorsed a number of PTSD
symptoms. A global score and a partial score of
all clusters of PTSD symptoms were calculated.
In Study 1, 38 (19.9%) participants met the
cutoff criteria for a probable diagnosis of PTSD,
while 37 (14.8%) participants in Study 2 met
criteria for a probable PTSD diagnosis. Further-
more, in Study 1, the teachers surveyed indi-
cated they had either a moderate or extreme
problem with the following symptoms: trusting
others (63.2%), anxiety and tension (56%), dif-
ficulty sleeping (51.3%), restlessness (47.7%),
difficulty with memory (44%), and difficulty
expressing feelings (42.5%). Similarly, in Study
2 the teachers indicated they had moderate to
extreme problems with the following symp-
toms: memories of experiences (34.6%), trust-
ing others (31.5%), anxiety and tension (31.
9%), irritability (30.7%), restlessness (27.6%),
and difficulty concentrating (26%).
Bivariate correlations for study variables are
outlined in Table 3. All indices of violence
exposure—indirect, direct, and total—were
positively associated with PTSD and burnout in
both samples, ps.05. In addition, preliminary
analyses indicated that men in Study 1 reported
higher levels of total violence exposure (n63,
M16.03, SD 6.47) than female teachers
(n127, M9.27, SD 5.76); F(1, 188)
53.48, p.001,
.221. In Study 2, younger
teachers (ages 30 and under), regardless of gen-
der, reported greater total exposure to violence
(n57, M10.43, SD 6.27) than teachers
aged 31 years or more (n202, M7.61,
SD 6.03); F(1, 257) 9.55, p.002,
.036. No other associations were found between
the demographic and outcome variables; char-
acteristics of teachers’ occupational background
(area of work, type of school, years of experi-
ence) were not correlated with the indices of
violence exposure or psychological symptom-
atology in either sample. Given preliminary
analyses and in light of intercorrelations be-
tween demographics and violence exposure, age
and gender were included as covariates in the
mediation analyses. We also relied upon the
total violence exposure assessment—summing
over direct and indirect forms of exposure—as
the independent variable in the mediation anal-
Mediation Analyses
Two mediation analyses were conducted to
test the hypothesis that exposure to violence
indirectly affected burnout through its effects
on PTSD symptomatology. This hypothesized
model was tested for both teacher samples using
ordinary least squares path analysis (Hayes,
2013). No statistically significant effects were
found for gender or age in the mediation anal-
yses in the presence of the other variables in the
models. As can be seen in Figure 1, the direct
effect of total violence exposure (including the
sum of both direct and indirect exposures) on
burnout was attenuated when PTSD symptom-
atology was statistically controlled. In Study 1,
the direct effect remained significant (␤⫽.16,
p.04); in Study 2, the direct effect fell to
statistically nonsignificant in the presence of
PTSD (␤⫽.07, p.18). The indirect effect of
violence exposure on burnout via PTSD was
further evaluated by (a) estimating a biased-
corrected bootstrap confidence interval using
10,000 bootstrap samples, and (b) conducting a
normal theory test (Sobel) of the indirect ef-
fect’s statistical significance. Both tests con-
firmed the presence of the indirect effect in both
samples (Study 1: 95% CI .04–.16, z3.31,
p.0009; Study 2: 95% CI .06–.31, z
3.19, p.001). In summary, results of these
mediation analyses were consistent with the hy-
pothesis that teachers who were exposed to
more frequent violence experienced higher rates
Exposure to
Posrauma c
stress symptoms
.29*** (.16*)
.19** (.07)
Figure 1. Coefficients are standardized regression coeffi-
cients based on recommended procedures by Hayes (2013)
for testing statistical mediation. Coefficients on the top are
from Study 1 and those coefficients on the bottom are from
Study 2. Coefficients in parentheses represent associations
between total violence exposure and burnout after control-
ling for PTSD symptomatology in the two samples. Gender
and age were included as covariates in all statistical tests.
p.001, ns p .05.
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of burnout partly due to more severe PTSD
Teachers across both samples reported mul-
tiple violent events over their lifetimes, likely
reflecting the general risk for violence in El
Salvador and the occupational hazards of work-
ing in a helping profession in this country.
Teachers reported high rates of direct victimiza-
tion; those findings align with general epidemi-
ological research (Córdova et al., 2012; World
Bank, 2011) and related clinical findings from
the region (Putman et al., 2009; Urrutia, 1995).
Over a quarter to half of the teachers in both
groups reported experiencing war-related stres-
sors (e.g., witnessing fighting, people being
hurt, dead bodies) and substantive numbers had
endured natural disasters. Importantly, many of
the teachers had experienced events that would
be considered traumatic from a Criterion A di-
agnostic standpoint, such as direct and indirect
encounters with physical assault, weapons, dead
bodies, police arrests, and life-threatening situ-
Findings of these studies suggest that the
Salvadoran teachers had not only been exposed
to a high level of CV in their lifetime, but they
had also experienced moderately high levels of
PTSD symptomatology. This is not an alto-
gether surprising finding given evidence for the
cumulative effects of exposure to trauma
(Brown et al., 2005; Scarpa et al., 2006). We
found 19.9% of teachers meeting criteria for a
probable PTSD diagnosis in Study 1 and 14.8%
of teachers in Study 2. Although limitations in
our sampling and measurement procedures re-
strict the ability to draw conclusions about the
prevalence of PTSD in this population, these
figures are higher than similar descriptive stud-
ies with Guatemalan refugees (Sabin, Lopes
Cardozo, Nackerud, Kaiser, & Varese, 2003)
and violence-exposed aid workers (Eriksson et
al., 2001). However, rates of possible PTSD
symptoms in our samples were lower than those
for survivors of the war in Kosovo (61%; Ai et
al., 2002), as well as for war-exposed civilians
in El Salvador found in earlier research (41%;
Urrutia, 1995). In fact, our findings most closely
align with the Putman et al. (2009) report that
17% of Guatemalan humanitarian aid workers
had met criteria for a probable diagnosis. This
could reflect consistency of measures imple-
mented across this research. Other possibilities
include the degree to which different popula-
tions have been exposed to different levels of
trauma and CV, the nature of the violence ex-
perienced, and/or the participants’ ability to
cope with the violence itself. While it can be
argued that cultural factors may influence dif-
ferences in how trauma is experienced and pro-
cessed, research has also suggested that other
contextual factors such as time, proximity to the
traumatic event, or identity of the perpetrator
may also influence these observed differences
(Brown et al., 2005; Ozer, Best, Lipsey, &
Weiss, 2008; Scarpa et al., 2006; Urrutia, 1995).
Namely, a long line of research has revealed a
linear association between violence exposure
and PTSD, and posttraumatic symptomatology
is typically more intense when the trauma oc-
curred closer in time, location, and/or entailed
an act that was committed by a trusted friend or
family member. We were not able to assess all
of these finer contextual details in this study.
As anticipated, teachers’ levels of posttrau-
matic symptomatology and burnout were higher
for those with more severe histories of trauma
exposure. Violence exposure (including both
direct and indirect exposure) had a statistically
significant positive direct effect, whereby those
who reported greater exposure to violent events
were more likely to report problems with PTSD
symptoms and burnout at the time of study. In
addition, when accounting for age and gender,
results demonstrated in both studies that teach-
ers’ levels of PTSD symptomatology emerged
as a possible mediating factor between violence
exposure and burnout. The indirect effect of
violence exposure on burnout via PTSD found
in both samples, confirms the hypothesis that
teachers who were exposed to more frequent
violence experienced higher rates of burnout
partly due to more severe PTSD symptomatol-
ogy. It appears that among teachers with higher
levels of violence exposure, difficulty dealing
with heightened psychological distress (PTSD
symptomatology) partly explains the link be-
tween violence exposure and poorer psycholog-
ical and occupational functioning. Overall,
these findings support the possible utility of the
burnout construct with teachers and other help-
ing professionals working in impoverished and
violent contexts, and highlight the need to
screen for PTSD symptomatology and violent
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events in mental health assessments with these
The difference in number of violent events
endorsed by the two teacher samples could be
possibly attributed to passage of time between
data collection for each sample. Study 1 data
were collected in 2007, at the height of a gang
violence surge in El Salvador. During this time,
El Salvador had 39,000 active gang members
(USAID, 2010). Study 2 data were collected in
2012 when several Salvadoran municipalities
had initially declared, yet not implemented,
zones of peace as a result of a nationwide ar-
mistice between gangs and the government.
This unprecedented negotiation led to a notice-
able but temporary significant reduction in the
number of homicides in the country. The out-
come of this truce is still unclear because gang
leaders have declared they will continue the
practice of extortion, a form of intimidation that
most Salvadorans experience in their daily life
(Romero & Mejía, 2013; Milenio, 2013).
Gender and age factors related to violence
exposure are noteworthy and further highlight
vulnerability for PTSD among study partici-
pants. Male teachers in Study 1 reported more
direct CV exposure than did female teachers.
This finding is consistent with other studies that
found men were often exposed to violence more
frequently than were women (Brewin et al.,
1999; Scarpa et al., 2006). In contrast, in Study
2, participants younger than 30 years, regardless
of gender, reported having experienced more
incidents of violence. It is possible that higher
rates of exposure among younger participants
may coincide with the documented surge in
gang violence in the country in the two decades.
Thus, mental health interventions with Salva-
doran adults exposed to violent events should
take into account gender and age when address-
ing traumatic stress symptoms.
Taken together, these results further support
the need to explore other factors that may in-
fluence teachers’ ability to engage in their work
in a productive and satisfying manner. Although
the cross-sectional design of the present re-
search limits the ability to address causation,
these findings align with Putman et al. (2009) in
further suggesting that trauma-related problems
could be a key risk factor among teachers in El
Salvador and other developing countries. The
psychological well-being of teachers is vital for
promoting an optimal learning experience for
students. Adverse trauma reactions may impair
teachers’ capacity to meet the responsibilities
of their jobs. For example, burnout might limit
teachers’ ability to negotiate important rela-
tional aspects of their jobs and interact with
their students in meaningful ways. However, it
is important to note that the impact of specific
events either within or outside of teachers’ pro-
fessional role was not assessed in either study.
Future studies are needed to examine teachers’
interactions with students in the classroom as a
function of their violence exposure. Addition-
ally, future research will benefit from investi-
gating whether teachers’ exposure to violence
via working in the Salvadoran educational sys-
tem increases vulnerability for these outcomes
or whether the present results simply reflect a
more general risk factor associated with living
in El Salvador in recent decades. Future re-
search would also do well to explore the role of
possible protective factors such as coping, so-
cial support, and religion/spirituality that may
serve as buffers against the development of
pathology. Additionally, intervention research
would be useful in determining primary, sec-
ondary, and tertiary prevention interventions for
teachers in general, those most at risk, and those
already experiencing distress symptoms.
Study Limitations
This research had several limitations that
warrant some discussion. The lack of assess-
ment for the timing and relational context of
violence exposure among the teachers was
noted above. Although the present results sug-
gest the cumulative effects of violence, indices
of exposure only generated small to medium
effects. Hence, it is possible that certain types of
more severe traumatic stressors—such as phys-
ical assault, rape, or war-related experiences—
might engender serious psychological concerns
in their own right. In addition, from a measure-
ment standpoint, diagnostic interviews are the
ideal way to assess PTSD and other trauma-
related distress symptomatology, and it is pos-
sible that certain indicators of distress were
missed by exclusively using questionnaire data
in these studies. Findings would also have been
enhanced by a random sampling procedure (as
noted above as well). These samples of teachers
self-selected themselves to attend workshops on
managing the effects of trauma and stress. As
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such, this recruitment strategy may have led to
an overrepresentation of highly distressed
teachers, or teachers with greater difficulties
might have elected not to participate in the
research study. As such, these samples are not
representative of teachers as a whole in El
Salvador. Future research with teachers in El
Salvador would benefit from incorporating
more sophisticated sampling and measure-
ment strategies to overcome these limitations
and expand upon these findings.
Implications for Training and
Supporting Teachers
Notwithstanding limitations of the present re-
search, several possible implications for train-
ing and supporting teachers in El Salvador and
other violence-stricken countries might be
drawn. In accordance with recent efforts on the
part of the Ministry of Education in El Salvador
to provide mental health services to teachers
working in select high-risk communities, these
results suggest that the type of psychological
assistance could be expanded in scope and ge-
ography to other areas known for sustained lev-
els of violence in the country. For example, to
reduce possible adverse effects of personal and
vicarious trauma that can result from chronic
exposure to violence, teachers in both urban and
rural areas may benefit from professional devel-
opment training that provides information about
self-care. This type of training could focus on
promoting emotional competence and could be
delivered on a regular basis or at planned inter-
vals, so that new and already established teach-
ers develop an understanding of how to cope
with their own trauma-related distress. In addi-
tion, teachers may benefit from formal support
groups facilitated by mental health practitio-
ners, or informal peer networks to discuss their
coping strategies and process reactions to vio-
lence among their students. For teachers who
are in crisis, intensive interventions to regain
stability and work through their traumas (e.g.,
individual counseling or psychotherapy) should
be offered. This research could help identify
teachers at highest risk and prioritize interven-
tion resources. School administration would
also do well to develop the organizational struc-
tures and services to identify these distressed
teachers and provide the type of intervention
that may meet their psychological needs, given
that PTSD symptoms were shown to be related
to job burnout in both samples. With the provi-
sion of these types of supports, teachers may be
equipped to continue to work with the next
generation of Salvadorans in overturning the
system of violence in their country.
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Received May 20, 2013
Revision received November 15, 2014
Accepted November 22, 2014
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... PTSD was linked with burnout among service professions, such as firefighters (Katsavouni et al., 2016) and nurses (Mealer et al., 2009). However, only one study has investigated this link among teachers and found that the impact of violence on burnout was mediated by PTSD symptoms (Rojas-Flores et al., 2015). ...
... The prevalence rate of PTSD based on this sample is one of the first pieces of evidence indicating the detrimental effect that past traumatic events can have on burnout and psychological distress among these teachers. The 12% for full-PTSD is compatible with the top end of the prevalence rate reported in literature on general population (Breslau, 2009) but lower than that (19.9%) among teachers exposed to community violence (Rojas-Flores et al., 2015). These differences could result from the measures used. ...
... These differences could result from the measures used. E.g., while the Los Angeles Symptom Checklist was used to assess PTSD based on DSM-IV criteria in the preceding study (Rojas-Flores et al., 2015), PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 was used in this study. Also, cultural differences could have contributed to differences in the prevalence rate. ...
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Purpose: Teachers' mental health is concerning due to high stress at work. Its association with job-related stressors has been well-documented. Little is known; however, about how traumatic life events and trauma reactions might contribute to their psychological distress. This paper is to explore whether Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following past traumatic event would predict burnout and psychiatric co-morbidity among Chinese k-12 school teachers and whether this prediction would be mediated by forgiveness after controlling for work-related factors. Methods: Two hundred and seventy-nine Chinese teachers (F = 223, M = 56) from primary and secondary schools completed demographic information, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), Heartland Forgiveness Scale (HFS), General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28), Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educator's Survey (MBI-ES), and a series of measures assessing work-related factors. Results: Structured equation modeling (SEM) showed that after controlling for work-related factors, PTSD following past trauma was positively associated with burnout and general psychological problems but negatively associated with levels of forgiveness. Forgiveness carried the impact of PTSD onto burnout rather than general psychological distress. Conclusion: To conclude, regardless of the level of stress experienced from working in school, primary and secondary teachers with PTSD from past trauma found it more difficult forgiving which in turn could affect their levels of burnout.
... Studies for educators with STS are limited compared to the amount of research about teacher stress and burnout; most of the STS research is focused on disaster response or is located internationally (Denham, 2018;Rojas-Flores et al., 2015). Although educators are not typically considered so-called "Professionals who work therapeutically with victims of trauma" (Hensel et al., 2015), there are some researchers who have utilized this lens and studied teachers with traumatic stress. ...
... Teachers experience secondary stress Robinson, 2005;Rojas-Flores et al., 2015;Schepers, 2017;Smith Hatcher et al., 2011;VanBergeijk & Sarmiento, 2006). ...
... for teachers in high poverty schools).Impact of previous trauma. Teachers who have a history of trauma in their background are more at risk for STS(Robinson, 2005;Rojas-Flores et al., 2015).Rojas-Flores et al. (2015) also confirmed that teachers with a trauma history showed higher levels of PTSD symptomatology than those without a trauma history. Researchers in other disciplines supportindirect trauma findings. ...
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People who support others who have experienced trauma, like nurses, doctors, social workers, or first responders can sometimes be affected by a type of stress called secondary traumatic stress (STS). Although the effect of STS has been studied in helpers like social workers and medical professionals, the prevalence and characteristics of STS in teachers have not been studied extensively and are less understood. Schools in our communities impacted by the opioid epidemic also report additional stressors from issues like addiction, overdose, crime, neglect, rise in foster care, increased medical care, and death. This dissertation investigates STS in K-12 public school teachers in the United States, in areas of varying opioid impact. Specifically, K-12 teachers (n = 450), in 26 states and Washington, D. C., were surveyed utilizing a validated instrument for secondary traumatic stress (Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale; Bride, Robinson, Yegidis, & Figley, 2004), along with demographic questions and open-ended questions. Teachers were also asked about adverse childhood experiences of their students, using the PHL-ACE categories (Health Federation of Philadelphia and Philadelphia ACE Research and Data Committee, 2012). The prevalence and extent of teacher STS were explored in communities of low-, medium-, and high-opioid impact levels as defined by the National Institute of Health epidemiology parameters. I used descriptive statistics and correlations (Spearman’s Rho) to determine the prevalence of STS in the sample of teachers and to determine if this prevalence had any relationship to the opioid mortality rate in communities. Over half of the teachers in the VII study (59.56%) experienced STS at a moderate or higher level. Teachers in high opioid zones reported the highest mean STSS scores (M = 43.78, SD = 16.00), with 62.67% scoring at 38 or higher. Over 85% of teachers endorsed intrusion symptoms at a diagnostic level. Between 91-93% of all teachers surveyed endorsed adverse events experienced by their students. Using Spearman’s Rho correlation, I did not find a relationship between the environment of the opioid zone or the demographic characteristics of the teachers. Additional findings and implications are discussed and support the need to continue teacher STS research in all communities.
... Attending to their multifaceted professional roles appears to increase teachers' risk for being directly victimized, witnessing, or hearing about CV events. For instance, an earlier publication from this project documented that teachers from a number of districts throughout El Salvador reported exposure to three or four severe stressors during adulthood and that their exposure to potentially traumatic events was associated with problems in psychological functioning (e.g., symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]; Rojas-Flores et al., 2015). Several of the most commonly reported events in the sample were seeing or knowing someone who was picked up by police (62.3%), chased by gangs (60.7%), murdered (55.6%), involved in a serious accident (53.3%), or beaten up or mugged (51%). ...
... Several of the most commonly reported events in the sample were seeing or knowing someone who was picked up by police (62.3%), chased by gangs (60.7%), murdered (55.6%), involved in a serious accident (53.3%), or beaten up or mugged (51%). In addition, Rojas-Flores et al. (2015) documented that 51.8% had directly seen someone carry a gun or knife who was not a member of the Salvadoran military, police, or other authorized security organization. ...
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The purpose of this study was to examine the interplay between daily spiritual experiences and meaning making in a sample of 254 Salvadoran teachers with histories of exposure to violence and potential trauma. When controlling for rates of lifetime community violence exposure and demographic factors (age, gender), teachers with higher daily spiritual experiences indicated better posttraumatic adjustment (i.e., more perceptions of posttraumatic growth [PTG], lower posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] symptoms). In addition, there was evidence that teachers’ capacity to make meaning of salient life stressors served as an intervening pathway for the spirituality–PTSD link but not for the association between spirituality and PTG. The present study addresses the general research gap on religion/spirituality among persons from Central America. These findings support the importance of spirituality research in persons exposed to pervasive trauma in Latin America and the importance of developing interventions for this population, as spirituality may be a protective factor.
... Study results indicate that teachers at greater risk of experiencing aggression are also at a greater risk of occupational burnout and more frequent anxiety and guilt (Galand et al., 2007;Rojas-Flores et al., 2015). To underscore the importance of analyses on this point, it is worth mentioning that the consequences of occupational stress and occupational burnout among teachers influence their teaching quality as well as student engagement (Wong et al., 2017). ...
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Background The psychological specificity of the occupation of teachers in youth fostering centres (Młodzieżowe Ośrodki Wychowawcze, MOW) and youth psychotherapy centres (Młodzieżowe Ośrodki Psychoterapii, MOS) is rarely explored in empirical studies. As indicated in the literature, working in resocialization facilities (such as MOWs or MOSs) requires more effort expended in contacts with students. Study results indicate that teachers at greater risk of experiencing aggression are also at a greater risk of occupational burnout. Participants and procedure The aim of the current study was to gather data on the intensity of occupational burnout among MOW/MOS teachers and public school teachers as well as to analyse the correlates and predictors of burnout. One hundred and sixty-nine people from two voivodeships in Poland took part in the study. The following measures were used in the study: the Life Orientation Test (LOT-R), the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES) and the Link Burnout Questionnaire (LBQ). Results Psychophysical exhaustion and a sense of a lack of self-efficacy among teachers are related to their workplace conditions. Longer job experience had a significant influence on the intensity of the individual aspects of occupational burnout and sense of self-efficacy. The current study did not reveal a significant influence of life optimism. Conclusions The current study requires continuation, as detailed scientific analyses of this occupational group are still lacking. There is a need for further studies on the impact of occupational burnout on the effectiveness of teachers’ pedagogical interventions.
... Academic boredom refers to a negative attitude toward learning, during which students experience emotional exhaustion (Lin and Huang, 2014;Ying et al., 2016;Supervía et al., 2020). This can directly lead to a decline in academic performance (May et al., 2015), which in turn reduces students' academic involvement, damages their interpersonal relationships with classmates and teachers, and affects students' long-term career development (Perry et al., 2010;Rojas-Flores et al., 2015;Quin, 2016). Therefore, it is particularly important to investigate the academic boredom of adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. ...
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Background: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has threatened adolescents’ mental health and even elicited their academic problems. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common negative psychological reactions, and academic boredom is a typical academic problem to the pandemic. PTSD might be related to academic boredom, but the underlying mechanism of this potential relation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic remains unclear. Aims: Under the framework of the job demands–resources model and the model of compensatory internet use, this study aims to examine the mediating role of mobile phone dependency in the relation between PTSD and academic boredom. Methods: Six hundred and thirty-one middle school students in Hubei Province were investigated using self-report questionnaires. SPSS19.0 and Mplus7.0 were used for data analysis. Results: PTSD symptoms were associated positively with academic boredom, and mobile phone dependence played a mediating role in the relation between PTSD and academic boredom. Specifically, adolescents with severe PTSD symptoms tended to report greater dependency on mobile phones, and hence show higher levels of boredom in learning. Conclusion: PTSD symptoms of adolescents directly aggravated their academic boredom, and indirectly affected academic boredom by increasing their dependence on mobile phones.
... Súvisí to najmä s možným výskytom ohrozenia života. Kolektív autorov zo Strednej Ameriky uvádza, že učitelia, ktorí prežili násilie na školách alebo prekonali posttraumatickú stresovú poruchu, sú náchylnejší na vznik syndró-mu vyhorenia [29]. ...
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Introduction: The teacher profession is considered as an assisting occupation. According to various sources in literature, this profession is considered very stressful, with icreasing requirements for personal and professional qualifications and specific sources of stress are considered as a world-wide phenomenon. Objective of the work: The objective of this paper was to translate and validate Slovak version of TSI - Teacher stress inventory. It seems TSI questionnaire can be possible researching and evaluating tool for risk assessment of subjective response to mental load. Methods: The original version of TSI was translated into the Slovak language. The collection of data for validation of the questionnaire was executed in June 2017 before the end of the school year in selected basic schools and universities. The teacher filled out the questionnaire for the first time (a test) during the visit of the research worker at the school. After 14 days during the visit of the schools, they filled out the questionnaire for the second time (a retest). The analysis of internal consistence was made by means of the Cronbach alpha. The level of significance p ˂ 0.05 was considered significant. Results: the questionnaire consists of 49 questions classified in 10 domains. Questionnaires filled out by 20 teachers were used for validation of the Slovak version. The value of Cronbach alpha above 0.7 was considered acceptable. Cronbach alpha was higher than 0.7 except domain 7 (0.631), while total score reached the value of 0.959. These results indicate a high internal consistence of the questionnaire. The value of Pearson correlation above 0.5 is considered high. Pearson's coefficient proved to be higher than 0.7 in all cases and reached the value of 0.992 for total score, while all P values were lower than 0.001. Conclusion: TSI questionnaire can serve as a suitable tool for the evaluation of subjective response to the teacher's mental load. It provides information about specific sources of load for the teachers and manifestations of the stress. Identification of specific stressors in the teacher´s work helps in better orientation in prevention of psychical working load at individual and organization level.
... Yet many teachers struggle with effective strategies to manage disruptive and disengaged student behaviours (Sullivan et al., 2014). The challenges of working with trauma-affected students can lead to burnout (Abel & Sewell, 1999;Antoniou, Ploumpi, & Ntalla, 2013;Farber, 1991;Rojas-Flores et al., 2015) and to exiting the profession (Betoret, 2009;Hakanen, Bakker, & Schaufeli, 2006;Karsenti & Collins, 2013). In fact, research suggests that up to 25% of teachers want to leave the profession due to problems arising from disruptive student behaviour (Fernet et al., 2012). ...
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This study contributed new findings to the construct of meaningful work (MW) and negative impacts on MW. In other professional samples, finding meaning in work has been shown to be an effective buffer when facing workplace adversity. However, prior investigation has neither identified nor explored the specific sources and mechanisms of meaningful work that teachers derive from educating trauma-affected students. Within a cross-sectional sample of primary and secondary teachers (N = 18) working in traumaaffected classrooms, two interrelated sources of MW: (1) practice pedagogy and (2) teacher wellbeing were further analysed for discussion via Rosso, Dekas, and Wrzesniewski's (2010) four mechanisms of MW (i.e., individuation, self-connection, contribution, and unification). These findings argue for the new development of trauma-informed pedagogies that both (1) enable teachers to redress the complex and unmet needs of students and (2) incorporate domains of meaning that teachers bring to their trauma-affected work.
... [8,12]. Psychological consequences include anger, fear, anxiety, stress, frustration [14,15,16], and symptoms of post-traumatic-stress-disorder [17,18,19]. ...
Background: Workplace violence is a serious concern for workers' mental health and well-being in high risk work sectors. Objective: This study examined victims' and witnesses' experiences after exposure to workplace violence, and the types of help they used to cope with the violent event. Methods: Workers (n = 211) from five different work sectors participated in our study. Multiple mediation analysis was used to investigate the indirect effects through psychological and work consequences on victims' versus witnesses' differential likelihood of using formal, paraformal and informal helping. Results: Results showed that workplace violence has detrimental effects on both victims and witnesses. Direct victims were more negatively affected psychologically and at work than witnesses. The indirect effect through psychological difficulty after experiencing workplace violence was significant in predicting formal helping. The indirect effect through reduced work functioning in predicting paraformal helping was also significant. No significant indirect effect was found in predicting informal helping. Conclusions: Both victims and witnesses used multiple types of helping to cope with the violent event. This study has practical implications on management and clinical practices for better organizations of resources in helping victims and witnesses to cope with workplace violence. "To access the full text, please go to HAL repository:"
For the last 15 years, teacher wellbeing has been a priority area of exploration within education and positive psychology literatures. However, increasing teacher wellbeing for those who educate students impacted by trauma has yet to be comprehensively explored despite repeated exposure of teachers to child trauma and their experiences of associated negative effects such as secondary traumatic stress, vicarious traumatisation, compassion fatigue and burnout. This study follows teachers’ understandings and reflections upon their own wellbeing after learning the literatures supporting trauma-informed positive education. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used as the methodological approach to represent teachers (N = 18) in order to privilege the language, voices and experiences of participants. Results yielded a new set of domains of trauma-informed teacher wellbeing to assist teachers to increase their own wellbeing when working with students. The likely upsurge in students and teachers across the world experiencing trauma symptoms (primary and vicarious) arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic makes this research timely and relevant.
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Background: Previous studies indicate that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and control beliefs can affect burnout and their unique role in this situation has been examined, but fewer studies have examined their combined role in adolescent’s academic burnout following traumatic events. Objective: This study examined the combined effect of PTSD symptom severity and control beliefs on academic burnout among adolescents, and assessed the moderating role of primary and secondary control beliefs in the relation between PTSD symptom severity and academic burnout. Methods: Seven hundred and forty-five adolescents were investigated using self-report questionnaires, and a series of regression equations examined the impact of PTSD severity and control beliefs on academic burnout. Results: PTSD symptom severity is associated positively with academic burnout, while primary and secondary control beliefs have a negative relation with academic burnout. In addition, primary control beliefs buffer the positive effects of PTSD symptom severity on academic burnout. We found that the positive relation between PTSD symptom severity and academic burnout in the low primary control beliefs group is more intense than that found in the high primary control beliefs group. Conclusions: PTSD symptom severity is a risk factor, whereas primary and secondary control beliefs are protective factors in academic burnout. In addition, PTSD symptom severity and primary control beliefs have a combined effect on academic burnout in adolescents following natural disasters.
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Survey of Exposure to Community Violence: Self Report Version
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A review of 2,647 studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) yielded 476 potential candidates for a meta-analysis of predictors of PTSD or of its symptoms. From these, 68 studies met criteria for inclusion in a meta-analysis of 7 predictors: (a) prior trauma, (b) prior psychological adjustment, (c) family history of psychopathology, (d) perceived life threat during the trauma, (e) posttrauma social support, (f) peritraumatic emotional responses, and (g) peritraumatic dissociation. All yielded significant effect sizes, with family history, prior trauma, and prior adjustment the smallest (weighted r = .17) and peritraumatic dissociation the largest (weighted r = .35). The results suggest that peritraumatic psychological processes, not prior characteristics, are the strongest predictors of PTSD.
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A series of inquiries was conducted on the psychometric properties of the Los Angeles Symptom Checklist (LASC), a self-report measure of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and associated features. Data were drawn from various samples of individuals who completed the LASC in prior studies: Vietnam veterans (n = 300), battered women (n = 123), adult survivors of child sexual abuse (n = 142), maritally distressed women (n = 36), psychiatric outpatients (n = 105), and high-risk adolescents (n = 168). The instrument was shown to possess high internal consistency (alphas ranging from .88-.95) and test-retest reliability (coefficients of .90 and .94 with a 2-week interval), to be dominated by a strong PTSD first factor, and to demonstrate acceptable levels of convergent validity. Normative information is provided for various samples, including help-seeking male combat veterans, help-seeking females, and high-risk adolescents. As a self-report PTSD assessment device, the LASC has potential for use with various trauma groups.
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Violence directed against K-12 teachers is a serious problem that demands the immediate attention of researchers, providers of teacher pre-service and in-service training, school administrators, community leaders, and policymakers. Surprisingly, little research has been conducted on this growing problem despite the broad impact teacher victimization can have on schooling, recruitment, and retention of highly effective teachers and on student academic and behavioral outcomes. Psychologists should play a leadership role in mitigating school violence, including violence directed toward teachers. There is a need for psychologists to conduct research accurately assessing the types and scope of violence that teachers experience; to comprehensively evaluate the individual, classroom, school, community, institutional, and cultural contextual factors that might predict and/or explain types of teacher violence; and to examine the effectiveness and sustainability of classroom, school, and district-wide prevention and intervention strategies that target teacher violence in school systems. Collectively, the work of psychologists in this area could have a substantial impact on schooling, teacher experience and retention, and overall student performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
International relief and development personnel may be directly or indirectly exposed to traumatic events that put them at risk for developing symptoms of Post‐traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In order to identify areas of risk and related reactions, surveys were administered to 113 recently returned staff from 5 humanitarian aid agencies. Respondents reported high rates of direct and indirect exposure to life‐threatening events. Approximately 30% of those surveyed reported significant symptoms of PTSD. Multiple regression analysis revealed that personal and vicarious exposure to life‐threatening events and an interaction between social support and exposure to life threat accounted for a significant amount of variance in PTSD severity. These results suggest the need for personnel programs; prede‐ployment training, risk assessment, and contingency planning may better prepare personnel for service.
This paper is part of the ongoing work of the Latin American Program on citizen security and organized crime in the region and their effects on democratic governance, human rights, and economic development. This work is carried out in collaboration with the Mexico Institute, which has worked extensively on security and rule of law issues in Mexico. Our goal is to understand the sub-regional dimension of organized crime, focusing on the ways in which the countries of the Andean region, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada play central and inter-connected roles. This essay represents one of three papers commissioned by the Woodrow Wilson Center on the nature and dynamics of organized crime in Central America and its connections to broader criminal networks in Mexico and the Andean region. This paper, along with the others in this series, is a working draft. It may be cited, with permission, prior to the conclusion of final revisions.
In this paper we examined how emotional intelligence (EI) affects emotional exhaustion (burnout) resulting from emotional labor, and how emotional exhaustion influences an individual's job performance in terms of organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Partial least squares regression analyses were conducted on data from 295 retail sales employees in South Korea. Of the 4 factors identified in the EI model developed by Schutte et al. (1998) we found that 3 (appraisals of emotions, optimism, and social skills) were negatively associated with emotional exhaustion but the fourth factor of utilization of emotion showed no significant links with emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion was found to be negatively related to job performance in terms of organizational commitment and job satisfaction and the mediating effect of emotional exhaustion was confirmed in the relationship between job performance and appraisals of emotions, optimism, and social skills as factors in emotional intelligence.
Do teachers provide students with valuable forms of social capital? Do these forms of social capital increase the likelihood that students complete high school, particularly students who are at risk of failure? Using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS:88), we address these questions and examine whether social capital reduces the likelihood of dropping out between the 10th and 12th grades for a cohort of 11, 000 adolescents who attended more than 1, 000 Public and private high schools between 1990 and 1992. We measure social capital in two ways: (a) students' beliefs about how much their 10th-grade teachers support their efforts to succeed in school and (b) teachers' reports about whether individual 10th-grade students receive guidance from them about school or personal matters. We find that teachers are an important source of social capital for students. These teacher-based forms of social capital reduce the probability of dropping out by nearly half. However, students who come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and who have had academic difficulties in the past find guidance and assistance from teachers especially helpful. We discuss the implications of these findings for investigations of dropping out, risk, and social capital.
To investigate the correlation between burnout, coping strategies, and spiritual attitudes of religious leaders, parish-based United Methodist clergy were invited to complete a questionnaire booklet that included the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Hatch Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale, and validated coping scales. Of a total of 358 parish clergy, 222 (62%) completed the survey. Prevalence of high emotional exhaustion was 19%, high depersonalization 10%, and low personal accomplishment 11%. Correlation coefficient analysis revealed that a higher spirituality score correlated with greater personal accomplishment, but also related to greater emotional exhaustion and greater depersonalization. Clergy were more likely to have greater emotional exhaustion and depersonalization if they employed coping strategies of venting, disengagement, and self-blame. Acceptance, active coping, planning and positive reframing were correlated with greater personal accomplishment, but less strongly with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. A higher spirituality score correlates with greater personal accomplishment but also greater emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Certain coping strategies, including acceptance, active coping, planning, and positive reframing may also protect against burnout. The implications of these relationships are discussed.