I am not a better teacher, but others are doing worse: Burnout and perceptions of superiority among teachers
SourceSocial Psychology of Education, 4, (2001), pp. 259-274
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI AO
Social Psychology of Education
SubjectWork, Health and Performance
This study examined differences between teachers high and low in burnout in the perception of being superior to others. Because burnout implies a decline in well-being and because well-being is related to perceived superiority, it was hypothesized that perceived superiority would be reduced among individuals high in burnout. This would be particularly true for superiority with respect to positive behaviors (feeling better than others). As negative behaviors of others are generally highly salient, it was expected that even individuals high in burnout would be able to maintain a sense of negative superiority (feeling less bad than others). One hundred twenty teachers in secondary education were asked to generate information about inferior and superior others. Perceived superiority was assessed by response latencies and the quality of the information generated. As expected, only positive superiority was reduced among teachers high in burnout. Thus, they felt less good, but also less bad than others. Consequences for classroom performance and suggestions for the treatment of burnout are discussed.
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