Date of Degree


Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)


Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology, and Foundations (LEPF)


Summers, Kelly

Committee Members

Creed, Ben; Jarrett, Ehren


Principal Burnout, Basic Psychological Needs, Basic Needs and Principals, Illinois Principals Burnout, Illinois Principals Self Determination Theory


Associations Amongst Basic Psychological Needs and Burnout Amongst Illinois Principals

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between burnout and the basic psychological needs of Illinois principals. The objective of this research was to gather more information on Illinois principals on their level of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment) and the association with the three basic needs psychological needs (autonomy, relatedness, and competence) outlined within self-determination theory. The principal position is seeing attrition concerns and there are also training pipeline concerns for teachers to become principals. Because of this it is imperative to learn more about burnout and correlates that may support or thwart principals in their jobs.

This study utilized a cross-sectional quantitative correlational research design. Participants responded to questions on the Maslach Burnout Inventory Education Scale (MBI-ES) which examined the three identified dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. Additionally, principals rated themselves utilizing the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction at Work Scale (BPNWS). This scale assesses the areas of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In addition, several researcher-created demographics questions were included in the survey.

Several interesting findings are notable. For example, on the MBI-ES females scored higher than their male counterparts in the subscale of Personal Accomplishment. Additionally, females in urban school districts had a higher score of Autonomy than any other demographic. Additionally, there were several interesting associations amongst the subscales of the MBI-ES and the BPNWS. Results of this research were used to inform an Illinois Administrator Academy.

Research regarding both burnout and basic psychological needs of school principals is one that has limited prior research and especially in the United States. While this dissertation adds to the body of research on these important topics, additional research is needed in order to better meet the needs of building principals with the goal of increasing job satisfaction and decreasing occupational attrition.


Northern Illinois University

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Supplemental File Administrator Academy.pdf (2749 kB)
Illinois Administrator Academy Presentation



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