University of Oulu

Lotta Tikkanen, Kirsi Pyhältö, Tiina Soini & Janne Pietarinen (2021) Crossover of burnout in the classroom – Is teacher exhaustion transmitted to students?, International Journal of School & Educational Psychology, 9:4, 326-339, DOI:

Crossover of burnout in the classroom : is teacher exhaustion transmitted to students?

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Author: Tikkanen, Lotta1; Pyhältö, Kirsi1,2; Soini, Tiina3;
Organizations: 1Centre for University Teaching and Learning, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
4Philosophical Faculty, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-09


It has been proposed that well-being or lack of it can spread within tightly knit communities, including classrooms. Yet, to our knowledge, no studies have explored the crossover of burnout between the teachers and the students. In this study, we explored the relationship between teacher exhaustion and students’ study burnout symptoms. We hypothesized that teacher exhaustion is likely to be transmitted to students in classroom interaction both directly and via students’ perceptions of reduced social support from the teacher. A total of 1550 Finnish fifth-grade students from 104 classes and their teachers (N = 104) participated in the study. Multilevel structural modeling was applied to explore whether teacher exhaustion can cross over within classroom settings, i.e., whether it is related to their students’ study burnout levels and students’ perceptions of decreased social support. The findings indicated that teacher exhaustion contributed to higher levels of cynicism among the students. Interestingly, the teacher exhaustion was not related to the teacher support reported by their students. The perceived teacher support buffered the students’ study burnout at both individual and classroom levels. The findings imply that teachers’ well-being and the perceived social support from teachers play important roles in student well-being.

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Series: International journal of school & educational psychology
ISSN: 2168-3603
ISSN-E: 2168-3611
ISSN-L: 2168-3603
Volume: 9
Issue: 4
Pages: 326 - 339
DOI: 10.1080/21683603.2021.1942343
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture under Grant [6600567]; and the Academy of Finland under Grants [295022] and [326647].
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.