J Med Edu. In Press(In Press):e112142.
Published online 2021 March 16.
The Relationship between Time Management and Academic Burnout
with the Mediating Role of Test Anxiety and Self-Eﬃcacy Beliefs
among University Students
Zahra Kordzanganeh 1, Saeed Bakhtiarpour 1, *, Fariba Hafezi 1and Zahra Dashtbozorgi1
1Department of Psychology, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran
*Corresponding author: Department of Psychology, AhvazBranch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran. Email: email@example.com
Received 2020 December 15; Accepted 2021 February 07.
Background: Academic burnout is one of the most important problems throughout all levels of the education system.
Objectives: The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between time management and academic burnout with the
mediating role of test anxiety and self-eﬃcacy beliefs among university students in 2019.
Methods: The study was a descriptive correlation performed by path analysis. The statistical population included all students of
Islamic Azad University of Ahvaz and 222 of which were selected as the sample of the study using convenience sampling. The research
instruments included the Academic Burnout Questionnaire, the Time Management Questionnaire, the test anxiety inventory, and
the General Self-Eﬃcacy Scale. The proposed model was evaluated using path analysis with AMOS software.
Results: A direct and positive relationship was observed between time management and self-eﬃcacy beliefs (β= 0.345, P = 0.0001)
and between test anxiety and academic burnout (β= 0.515, P = 0.0001). The relationship between time management and test anxiety
(β= -0.586, P=0.001) and between self-eﬃcacy beliefs and academic burnout (β= -0.305, P = 0.0001) was negative. The relationship
between time management and academic burnout was not signiﬁcant (β= -0.051, P = 0.425). The results indicated that test anxiety
and self-eﬃcacy beliefs had a mediating role in the relationship between time management and academic burnout (β= -3.964, P =
Conclusions: According to research results, the proposed model had good ﬁtness and is considered an important step in identifying
the eﬀective factors in students’ academic burnout.
Keywords: Burnout, Time Management, Test Anxiety, Self-Eﬃcacy Beliefs, Students
Academic burnout is a signiﬁcant problem in the ed-
ucational system at all levels of education, which weak-
ens academic performance and wastes expenses and hu-
man resources. Burnout can be considered a type of disor-
der occurring in an individual for being exposed to stress-
ful environments for long periods, and its symptoms ap-
pear in physical, psychological, emotional, and mental di-
mensions (1). Burnout is caused by hard and un motivat-
ing work, and its symptoms appear in diﬀerent forms. The
symptoms also vary from person to person (2). Academic
burnout among learners is identiﬁed by fatigue due to
academic demands and requirements, feeling pessimistic
about merits, and low self-eﬃcacy, which can be discussed
as a chronic reaction of students who have been involved
with academic requirements from the start. This is caused
by the diﬀerence between the students’ abilities and ex-
pectations of academic success of themselves compared to
Students suﬀering from academic burnout usually ex-
perience a lack of willingness to attend classes continu-
ously, lack of participation in-class activities, apathy to-
wards the lessons, consecutive absences, and feeling mean-
ingless and incompetent in learning lessons (4). Studies
in the ﬁeld of health, speciﬁcally academic burnout, have
shown that time management is important when people
face unsuitable situations. In general, academic programs
are one of the life aﬀairs with tasks and objectives that
students often face diﬃculties in assigning time to. Aca-
demic performance also depends on students’ abilities in
time management and performing tasks correctly. Sup-
port from family and friends anticipate high academic per-
Time management is a personal discipline that, when
performed, anything can be achieved. Time management
Copyright © 2021, Journal of Medical Education. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the
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Kordzanganeh Z et al.
makes one spend time on targeted activities, while lack of
time management leads to doing leisure activities. Hence,
good time management increases academic performance
and reduces academic burnout among students (4,6,7).
Since time management skills can be taught and learned
and since the inability in time management is one of the
causes of not completing the homework among the learn-
ers, which per se can lead to academic failure in students
and reduction of motivation to continue their studies, this
strategy is selected to reduce the test anxiety among stu-
Mediating factors play a role in the relationship be-
tween time management and academic burnout among
students, which are better to be investigated in order to re-
duce academic burnout. One of these mediating factors is
test anxiety. Testanxiety is a common phenomenon among
students and is considered a problem in the educational
system (9,10). Test anxiety is situational anxiety that can
be observed in all socioeconomic classes and is closely re-
lated to the academic performance of the learners in edu-
cational centers, and 10 to 20 percent of the pupils and stu-
dents faces it during their education (11). Diﬀerent studies
have focused on the relationship between test anxiety and
academic burnout (12) and the relationship between time
management and test anxiety (13).
Besides test anxiety, the other variable that plays a
mediating role in the relationship between time manage-
ment and academic burnout in students is self-eﬃcacy be-
liefs. So, the person trusts his/her abilities in controlling
his/her feeling, emotions, and behavior and can aﬀect the
consequences of aﬀairs (14). According to Buckworth (15),
self-eﬃcacy plays a more signiﬁcant role in people’s moti-
vations and behaviors, such that people who strongly be-
lieve in their abilities try and insist more on doing their
homework. However, people who doubt their abilities
stop doing their homework. Therefore, self-eﬃcacy acts
as a driving force in people (16). Diﬀerent studies have
addressed the role of self-eﬃcacy beliefs in reducing aca-
demic burnout (17-19).
The present study sought to investigate the relation-
ship between time management and academic burnout
with the mediating role of test anxiety and self-eﬃcacy be-
liefs among university students.
The study was a descriptive correlation performed by
path analysis. The statistical population included all stu-
dents of Islamic Azad University of Ahvaz in 2019 and 222
of which were selected as the sample of the study using
convenience sampling. In order to collect the required
data, 250 questionnaires based on the research variables
were administered. A total of 222 questionnaires were an-
alyzed following the elimination of incomplete question-
naires. Willingness to participate in the research, infor-
mation conﬁdentiality (conﬁdentiality principle), and ob-
servance of participants’ rights were the ethical consider-
ations of the research. The proposed model was evaluated
using path analysis with AMOS software.
3.1. Research Instruments
3.1.1. Academic Burnout Questionnaire
The Academic Burnout Questionnaire was designed by
Bresó et al. (20). This questionnaire consists of 15 items
that are rated based on the 5-point Likert scale (strongly
disagree to strongly agree). Academic burnout consists
of 5 items, academic apathy consists of 4 items, and aca-
demic ineﬃcacy consists of 6 items of the measurable com-
ponents of the questionnaire. Items 3, 6, 8, 9, 12, and 15
are scored in reverse. The validity of the questionnaire
was calculated by factor analysis, and the Comparative Fit
Index, Incremental Fit Index, and Root-Mean-Square Error
were reported good, and the reliability of the question-
naire was reported to be 0.88 by Cronbach’s Alpha (21).
Cronbach’s alpha coeﬃcient was 0.87 for the questionnaire
in the present study.
3.1.2. Time Management Questionnaire
The Time Management Questionnaire was designed by
Trueman and Hartley (22) to measure time management.
This research tool consists of 14 items, and the scoring
method follows the 5-point Likert scale (from always, often,
sometimes, rarely, to never). This questionnaire was trans-
lated by Savari (23). The reliability of this questionnaire
was calculated by Cronbach’s alpha and bisection method
to be 0.88 and 0.63, respectively. The validity of this scale
was also tested by conﬁrmatory factor analysis (CFA). All
the items except for items 8, 11, and 13 had acceptable factor
loads (23). In the current study, the reliability of the ques-
tionnaire was 0.83 using Cronbach’s alpha coeﬃcient.
3.1.3. The Test Anxiety Inventory
The test anxiety inventory was designed by Spielberger
et al. (24) for all levels of education. This questionnaire con-
sists of 20 questions. The “Worry” subscale measures ques-
tions 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, and 20. The “emotionality”
subscale measures questions 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, and 18. A
four-point Likert Scale was used for scoring, which started
from never 1 , rarely 2 , sometimes 3 , and often 4 . The min-
imum and maximum points in this questionnaire were 20
and 80, respectively. Students’ points are classiﬁed into
2 J Med Edu. In Press(In Press):e112142.
Kordzanganeh Z et al.
three groups of low (points of 20 - 40), moderate (points
of 41 - 60), and high-test anxiety (points of 61 - 80). Taylor
and Deane (25), reported a Cronbach’s alpha coeﬃcient of
0.86 for the questionnaire. Cronbach’s alpha coeﬃcient in
the present study was 0.84 for the inventory
3.1.4. The General Self-Eﬃcacy Scale
This scale was developed by Sherer et al. (26). This
scale includes 17 items, measuring three aspects of behav-
ior,i.e., the desire to initiate a behavior,continuing to strive
to complete the behavior, and resistance in the face of ob-
stacles. This scale is scored based on a 5-option Likert scale
from 1 to 5. Questions 1, 3, 8, 9, 13, and 15 are scored as 5 (com-
pletely agree), 4 (agree), 3 (neither agree nor disagree),
2 (disagree), and 1 (completely disagree), while the other
items are scored in reverse. The minimum score for this
scale is 17, while the maximum score is 85. Higher scores
indicate a high sense of self-eﬃcacy. In a study, Dougherty
et al. (27) reported a Cronbach’s alpha coeﬃcient of 0.84
for the scale. In the current study, the reliability of the scale
was 0.82 using Cronbach’s alpha coeﬃcient.
According to the descriptive statistics, the participants
were in the age range of 19 - 30 years. Moreover, 64.56% of
students were female, and 35.44% of students were male.
In terms of marital status, 59.50% of students were single,
and 40.50% of students were married. Also, 73.74% of the
participants were undergraduate students; 22.09% were
master, and 4.17% were Ph.D. students. Table 1 represents
the mean and standard deviation (SD) and Pearson corre-
lation coeﬃcients matrix among the study variables.
The primary proposed model was achieved based on
time management, test anxiety, and self-eﬃcacy beliefs to
determine academic burnout. Figure 1 shows the ﬁrst pro-
Figure 1. Initial proposed model
According to Table 2, the initial model required modi-
ﬁcation (RMSEA = 0.446). To this end, the non-signiﬁcant
relationship between time management and academic
burnout was removed. Figure 2 shows the ﬁnal model in
which the root means square error of approximation (RM-
SEA = 0.079), χ2/df = 2.383 and CFI = 0.990, indicated a good
Figure 2. Final modiﬁed model
The ﬁndings of Table 3 showed that there was no sig-
niﬁcant relationship between time management and aca-
demic burnout (β= - 0.051, P = 0.425). The relationship be-
tween time management and self-eﬃcacy beliefs was pos-
itive and signiﬁcant (β= 0.345, P = 0.0001). There was a
negative and signiﬁcant relationship between time man-
agement and test anxiety among the university students (β
= - 0.586, P = 0.0001) and between self-eﬃcacy beliefs and
academic burnout (β= - 0.305, P = 0.0001). The relation-
ship between test anxiety and academic burnout was pos-
itive and signiﬁcant (β= 0.515, P = 0.0001). The bootstrap
method was utilized to determine the signiﬁcance of the
The indirect path from time management to academic
burnout through the mediating role of test anxiety and
self-eﬃcacy beliefs was signiﬁcant (β= - 3.946, P = 0.001)
The present study aimed to investigate the relation-
ship between time management and academic burnout
with the mediating role of test anxiety and self-eﬃcacy be-
liefs among university students. In general, results showed
that all direct relationships between the variables were sig-
niﬁcant except for the relationship between time manage-
ment and academic burnout. The indirect relationships
became signiﬁcant by the mediating role of test anxiety
and self-eﬃcacy beliefs in academic burnout. According
to research results, the proposed model has good ﬁtness
and is considered a signiﬁcant step in identifying the in-
ﬂuential factors in students’ academic burnout. It can also
be used as an appropriate model in designing academic
burnout prevention programs.
J Med Edu. In Press(In Press):e112142. 3
Kordzanganeh Z et al.
Table1. Descriptive Statistics: Means, Standard Deviations, and Pearson’s Correlation Coeﬃcients
Variables Mean ±SD Pearson Correlation Coeﬃcient Matrix
Academic burnout 43.05 ±24.30 1
Time management 48.59 ±27.47 - 0.586
Testanxiety 45.27 ±22.01 0.345
Self-eﬃcacy beliefs 58.72 ±18.76 - 0.450
Table2. Proposed and Final Model Fit Indicators
Fit Indicators χ2df (χ2/df) GFI TLI CFI NFI RMSEA
Initial model 4.105 1 4.105 0.988 0.930 0.988 0.985 0.446
Final model 4.766 2 2.383 0.990 1.969 0.990 0.982 0.079
Table3. Path Coeﬃcients for the Initial and Final Model
Path Initial Model Final Model
Path Type BP Path Type BP
Time management to academic burnout Direct -0.051 0.425 Direct - -
Time management to self-eﬃcacy beliefs Direct 0.345 0.0001 Direct 0.345 0.0001
Time management to test anxiety Direct -0.586 0.0001 Direct -0.586 0.0001
Testanxiety to academic burnout Direct 0.515 0.0001 Direct 0.542 0.0001
Self-eﬃcacy beliefs to academic burnout Direct -0.305 0.0001 Direct -0.314 0.0001
Table4. Results of Indirect and Intermediary Paths
Predictor Variable Mediator Variable Criterion Variable Initial Model Final Model
Bootstrap P Bootstrap P
Time management Test anxiety and self-eﬃcacy beliefs Academic burnout - 3.770 0.001 - 3.946 0.001
The ﬁrst ﬁnding of this study showed that there was
no direct and signiﬁcant role between time management
and academic burnout. This ﬁnding is inconsistent with
the ﬁndings of studies carried out by Erdemir and Tomar
(7), Charkhabi et al. (17), Butcher (6), and Ghadampour et
al. (4). It can be stated that in the aforementioned studies,
the relationship between time management and academic
burnout was signiﬁcant according to the correlation co-
eﬃcient and regression tests. However, path analysis was
used in the present study. The relationship between time
management and academic burnout was also signiﬁcant
according to Pearson test. However, in the present model,
the eﬀect of time management on academic burnout was
indirect and through the mediating variables. In other
words, time management also aﬀects academic burnout in
this study but indirectly. Hence, it can be stated that this
ﬁnding is somehow consistent with the ﬁndings of previ-
ous studies. It should also be noted that the statistical pop-
ulation of these studies has been quite diﬀerent. In gen-
eral, students should ﬁnd out how to learn their lessons in
a relatively speciﬁc period. They should also increase their
insight into making the best use of time to have a more ac-
curate estimation of the time required for their tasks. Mas-
tering time is an essential step in learning lessons. Time is a
strategic source to advance objectives and making dreams
come true. An investigation of the behavior of successful
and inﬂuential people shows that time has an irreplace-
able role to them to the extent that they focus on time even
before beginning a task. Moreover, they manage their time
by eliminating useless and irrelevant activities.
The second ﬁnding showed that there was a negative
association between time management and test anxiety.
That is, by improving students’ time management skills,
test anxiety can be expected to reduce in them. Hence,
their academic achievements and performance will im-
prove. This ﬁnding is in accordance with that of Ebrahimi
et al. (13) and Poudel et al. (28). As an explanation for this
ﬁnding, it can be stated that students can use lesson plan-
ning to manage their time and reduce tension and anxiety
due to homework overload. Accordingly, it can be stated
that time management reduces tension and anxiety. Con-
sequently, the cognitive reactions to tension increase by
4 J Med Edu. In Press(In Press):e112142.
Kordzanganeh Z et al.
time management. Time management includes individual
perceptions and diﬀerent attitudes toward time. It can be
stated that people’s diﬀerent attitudes to time are derived
from their personality traits. That is, some people need
more time to ﬁnish their tasks, and some need shorter peri-
ods. If students have a good understanding of themselves,
they can manage their tasks better and be prepared for
their homework and exams to reduce test anxiety (13).
The third research ﬁnding showed a direct and sig-
niﬁcant relationship between time management and self-
eﬃcacy beliefs. This ﬁnding is in accordance with that of
Poudel et al. (28). As an explanation, it can be stated that,
in general, students who have control over their home-
work schedules get higher marks. Hence, doing home-
work on time creates the concept of positive self in stu-
dents. Time management strategies increase students per-
ceived self-eﬃcacy against the threatening experiences of
hard lessons and test anxiety. As a result, the anxiety will
decrease, and the students’ social performance and self-
eﬃcacy will improve (28).
The fourth research ﬁnding showed that there is a di-
rect and signiﬁcant relationship between test anxiety and
academic burnout. This ﬁnding is consistent with the ﬁnd-
ings of studies carried out by Faramarzi and Khafri (12) and
Ebrahimi et al. (13). As an explanation, it can be expected
that test anxiety is a type of undesirable emotional reac-
tion to school and class assessments. This emotional con-
dition is usually accompanied by worry, nervous system
arousal, and confusion. At the time of test anxiety crisis,
that is, situations accompanied by imminent danger or
disintegration, the student will feel helpless and unable to
ﬁnd any reason for his/her emotional condition. These anx-
ieties are almost always accompanied by physical symp-
toms such as paleness, shivering, rapid heartbeat, respi-
ratory problems, etc., and the individual is unable to ac-
tualize their potential abilities (13). These negative symp-
toms caused by test anxiety in learners and students are ac-
companied by academic burnout symptoms such as men-
tal and emotional fatigue, psychological pressure such as
lack of required resources to do tasks and homework, men-
tal fatigue, time restrictions, role overload, inability to con-
stantly attending the classes, not participating in-class ac-
tivities, being uninterested in courses, feeling unable to
learn the lessons. These symptoms gradually pave the way
for academic burnout in students with test anxiety (12).
The ﬁfth research ﬁnding showed that there is an indi-
rect and signiﬁcant relationship between self-eﬃcacy be-
liefs and academic burnout. That is, by the increase of self-
eﬃcacy beliefs in students, their academic burnout is ex-
pected to reduce. This ﬁnding is in accordance with that
of Felaza et al. (18), Charkhabi et al. (17), Yu et al. (21), and
Lee et al. (29). To explain this ﬁnding, it can be stated that
students with high self-eﬃcacy have higher levels of en-
ergy and show more self-devotion, and are less probable
to experience academic burnout (21). Self-eﬃcacy beliefs
are indirectly related to deindividuation and emotional fa-
tigue and directly related to diminished personal success.
Findings also showed that people with higher self-eﬃcacy
points experience less burnout (29). Results also showed
that people with high self-eﬃcacy face problems instead
of running away and have a higher commitment to achiev-
ing their goals. These people attribute failure to not trying,
which is compensable. Hence, they feel less burnout and
The sixth research ﬁnding showed that test anxiety
and self-eﬃcacy beliefs played a parallel mediating role
in the relationship between time management and aca-
demic burnout. In the ﬁrst hypothesis, it was shown that
there was no signiﬁcant relationship between time man-
agement and academic burnout. However, the present
study showed that a reduction in time management skills
is related to an increase in test anxiety and self-eﬃcacy be-
liefs, and it can lead to academic burnout through them. As
an explanation, it can be stated that naturally, various fac-
tors aﬀect students’ progress and academic performance.
Some of them improve academic performance, and some
others weaken it. Academic burnout is one of the factors
that negatively aﬀect students’ progress and academic per-
formance. Students’ burnout addresses feeling fatigued
and uninterested in learning lessons and/or feeling pes-
simistic and unworthy as a student (17).
The present study had some limitations. Some of the
limitations of this study included the fact that the study
was carried out among the students of the Islamic Azad
University of Ahwaz, and the attention should be turned
in generalizing the results of this study to other students
in other universities of Iran. Moreover, there are inﬂuen-
tial variables such as gender and age in academic burnout
that have not been controlled in the present study and are
recommended to be controlled in future studies. Since
the present study was carried out on students, it is recom-
mended that it should be carried out on other populations
such as the students in other levels of education. Some of
the practical recommendations include the fact that the
university experts and oﬃcials in Iran note that universi-
ties should be programmed such that students can make
better use of their positive personality traits and behav-
iors and take steps in progressing by increasing their self-
eﬃcacy and get away from academic burnout that pre-
vents them from improving and progressing academically.
Authors’ Contribution: Zahra Kordzanganeh: Study con-
cept and design, acquisition of data, analysis, and interpre-
tation of data, and statistical analysis. Saeed Bakhtiarpour:
J Med Edu. In Press(In Press):e112142. 5
Kordzanganeh Z et al.
Administrative, technical, and material support, study su-
pervision. Fariba Hafezi and Zahra Dashtbozorgi: Critical
revision of the manuscript for important intellectual con-
Conﬂict of Interests: No conﬂict of interest to declare.
Ethical Approval: The study was approved by the Ethics
Committee of Islamic Azad University-Ahvaz Branch (Code:
Funding/Support: This study did not receive any fund-
Informed Consent: Questionnaires were ﬁlled with the
participants’ satisfaction, and written informed consent
was obtained from the participants in this study.
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