Sociodemographic Characteristics and Burnout Syndrome In Teachers of the Eje Cafetero, Colombia


The objective of the present investigation is to identify the level of prevalence of Burnout syndrome and the relationship with the sociodemographic characteristics in primary and secondary teachers in the Eje Cafetero, Colombia. The methodology is quantitative, cross-sectional, exploratory. To identify the prevalence, the Burnout Maslacsh Inventory was used, as well as a sociodemographic survey was used to identify the particularities of the teachers. A random sampling with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 3% was used, the sample consisted of 352 primary and secondary teachers from the public and private sectors. The results show a low prevalence in teachers of Burnout syndrome. A greater illness in men, in young teachers, in teachers with less than one year of service and secondary school teachers. It is concluded that in Colombia teachers have a low prevalence of the syndrome, qualitative studies are required to indicate the causes of the disease.



The study of Burnout syndrome (SB) has its beginnings in the 1970s with the investigations of the psychiatrist Freudenberger, who identifies a continuous burnout in the professionals of the service area who had a helping relationship with other people (Freudenberger, 1974). From this moment on, a series of investigations begin that seek to identify and categorize said syndrome, identifying in all cases a marked emotional burnout caused by the excessive demand for resources in the workplace. Currently, it is considered a pathology derived from chronic work stress (Gil-Monte & Peiro, 1999).

The most widely accepted conceptual elaboration on burnout syndrome is identified with that elaborated by Maslach and Jackson (1986) from the three dimensions that make up the Maslach Burnout Inventory scale, Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and lack of Personal Accomplishment (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). The SB is presented progressively as a reaction to continuous exposure to work stress, with the importance of work pressure and the characteristics of the physical and work environment surrounding the collaborator. It is the result of a stress originating in the workplace and that continues without being resolved, demanding a large amount of energy until reaching the three dimensions mentioned (Cárdenas et al., 2014; Muñoz & Correa, 2012; Torres & Bonilla, 2017; Zuniga & Pizarro, 2018).

Burnout syndrome is a disease that affects 24% of the population of teachers in Colombia (Muñoz & Correa, 2014a). Decree 1477 of 2014 issued by the Colombian Ministry of Labor recognizes the SB as a new disease that has its origin in the labor field. Psychosocial agents appear as the main risk factors associated with the appearance of the syndrome, among them we can mention in the field of primary and secondary teachers the high mental load demanded in teaching activities, the high level and responsibility which requires the tasks of being a teacher, added to this the emotional demand of the teacher is too high due to the continuous interaction with parents, students, managers and coworkers, and the number of extra activities, added to those of teaching that involve planning, preparation, execution of the class and subsequent qualification of the activities of the students (Peña et al., 2018).

Problem Statement

The inclusion of this disease in the table of occupational diseases and the expansion of the section of those that derive from psychosocial agents arises from extensive research that has shown the association between these working conditions and the deterioration of physical, mental and social health. from the workers. For this reason, it is vitally important that organizations carry out the identification, monitoring and management of psychosocial risk factors to avoid generating these inconvenient results (Gantiva et al., 2010; Muñoz & Piernagorda, 2011; Muñoz & Correa, 2012; Muñoz & Correa, 2014a).

The teaching profession at the primary and secondary level is surrounded by a series of conditions that facilitate the appearance of the SB. There are risk factors associated with interactions with students, parents, managers, coworkers. Likewise, organizational factors, such as forms of leadership, authoritarian and vertical leadership styles that hinder participation, become elements that make teaching work have higher indicators of SB prevalence. Similarly, politics Educational factors are increasingly suffocating for the conditions of teachers, the inclusion of students with various disabilities, assessment of promotion, continuous pressure for schedules are factors of an external order to the institution that favor stress levels. Individual factors such as the lack of personal resources in coping with the stress level make the chances of Burnout easier and sharper.

In this way, it can be found that burnout depends on factors internal to the worker, on organizational factors of educational institutions and national labor and educational policies. Carrying out exploratory studies becomes an important element in the foundation of a solid-state of the art that facilitates the visualization of SB in populations that are very vulnerable, such as primary and secondary school teachers.

Burnout syndrome is associated with various consequences at a personal, organizational and work level. In this way, the subject with a burnout condition may be diminished in their mood, in physiological difficulties such as headaches, muscle aches, gastrointestinal problems. As well as at a psychological and social level, there are various problems such as apathy towards the other, emotional fatigue that can affect the way of relating to others, the lack of personal goals, irritability, and anxiety. Likewise, the organization is affected by problems such as absenteeism, poor cohesion in workgroups, difficulties in the work environment (Gallardo et al., 2019; Solera et al., 2017).

This article aims to identify the sociodemographic particularities of a group of primary and secondary teachers with burnout syndrome, seeking to expand the previous empirical studies on the subject, so that you can have a more the prevalence of the syndrome in the teacher population. Burnout syndrome is a conceptual construction with different constructions, but with a common agreement in the conceptualization made by Maslasch as a syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and Personal Accomplishment (Maslash). These components are with which the prevalence of Burnout is measured (Mameli, & Molinari, 2017; Restrepo et al., 2006; Shami et al., 2017).

Research Questions

What are the sociodemographic characteristics in relation to the burnout syndrome in teachers of the Coffee Region in Colombia?

Purpose of the Study

Identify the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and burnout syndrome in teachers of the Coffee Region in Colombia.

Research Methods

The research methodology is quantitative in scope. The design is transverse. The SPSS v. 23 statistic was used for the analysis of the information. A descriptive analysis was performed to characterize the sample. The tools used for research consisted of the use of a sociodemographic survey and Maslach's Burnout Inventory. Correlations were made on the ratio of Burnout and population socio- demographic variables. A random sample was taken with 352 primary and secondary elementary and secondary teachers from private institutions, of which 64.4% are for women and 35.6% were shown by men, 1.8 with the level of technician or technologist, 96.2% with a degree of professionalization, 9.6% 3.8% with master's degree and 1.3% with doctoral level. To measure Burnout Syndrome (SB) it is necessary to express that at the clinical level no score can determine its prevalence, however, it is instituted that high scores in emotional exhaustion and Depersonalization and low scores in Personal Accomplishment allow identifying the presence of burnout. To determine the existence of the syndrome, the scale used by other authors was used as a cutoff point (Mansilla, 2004). Accordingly, we base ourselves on the following values in the table 1 :

Table 1 -
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When determining the prevalence of Burnout syndrome in primary and secondary teachers, we observe in table 2 , it was observed that of the 352 primary and secondary teachers, 15.1% (53 teachers) infer a high prevalence of Burnout syndrome, since the present condition is met high levels of emotional exhaustion, low level of Personal Accomplishment and high level of depersonalization, and 46.9% (165 teachers) are in medium levels regarding the prevalence of its components, and 38.1 (134 teachers) on average low.

Table 2 -
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The results by components of the Burnout Syndrome present us with regular results in Emotional Exhaustion (M = 23.1) and Personal Accomplishment (M = 35.5), where the mean gives us average results of suffering from the Burnout Syndrome. On the other hand, Depersonalization (M = 5.1) presents low results as shown in Table 3 .

Table 3 -
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According to table 4 , it can be seen that emotional exhaustion is highest in married people, 38% prevalence, as well as depersonalization 35% and Personal Accomplishment 25%, placing them in the population with the highest percentage of Burnout

Syndrome disease. While widowers are those who suffer the lowest percentage in all three components.

Table 4 -
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According to table 5 , it can be seen that men have a higher percentage of high prevalence in the three components: Emotional Exhaustion 20%, Personal Accomplishment 16, 3% and Depersonalization 7.3% m than women, leading them to suffer more from the syndrome.

Table 5 -
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Source: the authors

According to table 6 , it can be seen that for the component of Emotional Exhaustion and Personal Accomplishment, the prevalence percentage is higher for teachers between 20 and 29 years of age (28% and 20% respectively), characterizing them as being those who prevalence in Burnout Syndrome, on the other hand, teachers older than 50 years are less likely to suffer from Burnout Syndrome with low percentage scores in all components compared to the other groups. It is worth mentioning that the results show a lower percentage of depersonalization in young teachers (8%).

Table 6 -
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In table 7 , a higher prevalence of Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization is observed in teachers who work in the secondary section, while a higher percentage of lack of Personal Accomplishment has been evidenced in primary level teachers.

Table 7 -
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According to table 8 , it can be seen that the population with the highest level of undergraduate education is the one with the highest percentage of Burnout Syndrome suffering from Emotional Exhaustion of 27%, depersonalization of 24.3% and Personal Accomplishment of the 25%. While the lowest prevalence is found in those with a specialist degree. The level of technician, technologist and doctorate was discarded as it is a slightly insignificant sample of less than 2% of the total population.

Table 8 -
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According to table 9 , it can be seen that for the Emotional Exhaustion component 25%, Personal Accomplishment 23% and Depersonalization 20% is high in teachers with less than one year of teaching service. Results contrary to teachers with more than 15 years of service.

Table 9 -
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According to table 1 0, it can be seen that for the Emotional Exhaustion component 13% is higher in people who consume alcoholic beverages, in the Personal Accomplishment component 15% is the same in both populations, and the Depersonalization component 12.2% it is higher in those who consume alcoholic beverages. Thus, consumers of alcoholic beverages have a higher prevalence than those who consume cigarettes. For consumers of both substances, there was a tube that they consumed at least once a month in the last 3 months.

Table 10 -
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The scientific literature in recent decades has presented great advances on Burnout, pointing out the teaching population as the second most affected by this syndrome, which is why, in various investigations, this syndrome has been correlated with various organizational and personal variables, such as age, sex, work intensity, in addition to how teachers deal with such situations that lead to stress. (Gantiva et al., 2011; Muñoz & Piernagorda, 2011; Reyna & Bracco, 2014). Based on the investigations that are previously expressed, the present investigation tries to relate the Burnout Syndrome and the sociodemographic characteristics of primary and secondary teachers of a teaching population of a city in Colombia.

When analyzing the results, it is observed that the population has a prevalence of Burnout Syndrome of 15.1% (53 teachers), 46.9% (165 teachers) are at medium levels regarding the prevalence of its components, and 38.1 (134 teachers) on average low.

These results coincide with similar research in Colombia where burnout syndrome is still low (Muñoz & Piernagorda, 2011) compared to averages from other countries that report averages with a higher percentage of prevalence.

Teachers have an average prevalence in the components of Emotional Exhaustion (M = 23.1) and Personal Accomplishment (M = 35.5) and low in Depersonalization (M = 5.1). Factors that are continuously affected in other similar studies, where teachers see little chance of progress in the teaching career and the exhaustion generated by the relationship with students becomes quite noticeable (Merino & Lucas, 2014; Muñoz & Correa, 2014b).

When comparing the results in the dimensions of Burnout Syndrome with the variable Marital Status, it was found that the results are similar to those found by Muñoz and Correa, (2012) where married people and in a free union have less prevalence about and contrary to Muñoz and Piernagorda (2011) in which the teachers with the highest prevalence to suffer are the married or in free union.

Social support has been identified as a coping strategy (Gantiva et al., 2010). Muñoz and Correa (2012), which could help us understand the fact that people who are married can have support in situations of work stress, helping to be a protective factor in the appearance of Burnout Syndrome.

When analyzing the sociodemographic variable gender, about the Burnout Syndrome, some differences were found, taking into account that the population is made up of 65.7% men and 34.3% women; finding that there is a higher prevalence of suffering the syndrome in the population of men, they have a higher percentage of high prevalence in the three components of Emotional Exhaustion 20%, Personal Accomplishment 16, 3% and Depersonalization 7.3% than women, similar to findings made by Muñoz and Piernagorda (2011).

The results show that teachers who are between 20 and 29 years old show a higher prevalence of Burnout syndrome. Ibáñez et al. (2012) expresses that within professional life there is a key period and is constituted by the first years of working life, given that this is where the step occurs between the expectations that the individual idealizes about working practice. Necessary knowledge and skills (Ibáñez et al. (2012) who express that the level of motivation that is exercised at this stage is comparable to that of motivation, which means that the more objectives, the greater the productivity than the individual exercises. Faced with its challenges, that is why in early and middle adulthood, stimuli tend to be proportional to the expectations presented by the individual, about an aspect such as job growth. That is why at this stage there is a clash between professional rewards and financial remuneration since sometimes they are not expected, which generally generates discomfort in people. In this way, the results obtained are consistent with the theory that shows teachers with fewer personal fulfilment than those between 20 and 29 years of age.

Regarding the level of education, a higher prevalence of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization is observed in secondary school teachers and a greater lack of personal achievement in primary school teachers. High school teachers are more likely to have burnout syndrome.

For the correlation between the variable level of education about Burnout Syndrome, it must be taken into account that 82% of the population has training at the undergraduate level, which is why it has the highest incidence of this syndrome at the level statistical. Given that only 3.6% have training at the master's level and 0.8% at the doctoral level and 1.2% at the technological level, it is of utmost importance to clarify that teachers who have master's training, in their entirety, have an average and high prevalence in the Emotional Exhaustion and high components for the Depersonalization component, although for the Personal Accomplishment component they present a prevalence divided between the half and high subcomponents. According to the theory of Schaufeli and Bakker (2001), the teacher normally perceives that he has invested too much of his time in search of personal and academic resources, which makes you not perceive them to the same extent, perceiving that you can be better or more relaxed, making you not satisfied with what you do. Although we can mention that the samples have a very high percentage in undergraduate, which would generate a bias when determining the number of people suffering from Burnout Syndrome in the other populations.

For teachers and their years of service, the component of Emotional Exhaustion 25%, Personal Accomplishment 23% and Depersonalization 20% is high for teachers with less than one year of teaching service. Results contrary to teachers with more than 15 years of service. Elements that go hand in hand with the younger population.

Other sociodemographic variables, such as years of teaching, alcoholic beverages consumption, tobacco consumption, do not seem to highlight any importance compared to the prevalence of Burnout Syndrome as expressed by Esteras et al. (2014), stating that According to the predictive models, only some of the variables can significantly predict teachers' scores regarding the prevalence of Burnout syndrome.

This study presents the limitations of any cross-sectional study, which is why the concepts must be understood generically and not intended to mean any type of causal relationship since this would require research with type designs. longitudinal in which the causal effects that are determined over time can be quantified, given by the influence of these variables that present relevant scores.

From a theoretical perspective, this research shows us an inverse concerning the dyadic coping theory established by Bodenmann, based on the theory of coping with stress by Lazarus and Folkman (1986). In what the dyadic coping refers to a series of thoughts and actions that people take with the expectation of being able to handle a difficult type of situation (Bodenmann et al., 2006). This can be expressed as a process by which a couple communicates with each other, about stressful events to find a solution and assume the situation as a couple (Bodenmann, 2005).

Although some studies have shown that stress is correlated with the quality of life of a couple due to various reasons, some of them include; First; stress can decrease the time the couple shares, second; stress reduces the quality of communication that occurs in the couple and third; increasing stress increases the risk of presenting both physical and psychological health conditions (Ledermann et al., 2010; Widmer & Bodenmann, 2015).

Regarding stress suffering depending on sex, some social factors explained in various research related to stress and gender must be taken into account, among which the one by García et al. (2017) in which the factors are exposed associated with increased stress in women due to extra burdens like home and psychological and emotional responsibility to keep everything in order.

For this reason, it is recommended that research continue along this line, which is expected to facilitate the development of intervention programs for early attention in search of the reduction and elimination of this syndrome, thus seeking the prosperity of teachers in their places. labor, and for the benefit of education.

The average burnout in secondary and primary teachers in Colombia is still low compared to other Latin American countries, it would be interesting to carry out research that seeks to qualitatively understand causes that allow the coping strategies to be established compared to other countries, It would be pertinent to research coping issues, especially from social support, since this element continues to be fundamental in overcoming chronic work stress, which could show us a trend figured in other research. Social support contact with the other is of great importance to overcome the effects of workload.


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01 June 2021

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Health, well-being, comprehensive health, psychosocial risks, education, pedagogical processes, social development, human behavior

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Muñoz, C. F. M., Otálvaro, C. M. C., & Matajudíos, J. F. (2021). Sociodemographic Characteristics and Burnout Syndrome In Teachers of the Eje Cafetero, Colombia. In C. Guzmán Torres, & J. V. Barba (Eds.), Psychosocial Risks in Education and Quality Educational Processes, vol 109. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1-11). European Publisher.