Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Ogg, Julia A.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


While teaching can be a satisfying career, teachers often report higher levels of stress than professionals in other fields. Left unmanaged, stress can lead to the occupational syndrome burnout, which can have detrimental effects on physical and mental health. In addition to the negative impact on the health and well-being of the teacher, burnout also has an indirect influence on students, as children in classrooms of teachers experiencing burnout tend to have lowered academic success and more behavioral difficulties. During the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers faced new challenges that may have contributed to stress levels. Conversely, some teachers report work engagement or a positive attitude toward work. Due to its prevalence, it is crucial to identify explanations that account for burnout as well as which conditions allow teachers to feel engaged. The current study examined teacher perception of control as a predictor of burnout and work engagement during the pandemic. Educators (N = 162, 88.9% White, 82.7% female) reported on their levels of burnout, work engagement, and general and/or occupational locus of control. Results suggest that teachers with an external locus of control in the context of work are more likely to experience burnout at their jobs. Teachers with an internal general locus of control, as well as teachers with an internal occupational locus of control, are more likely to experience work engagement. These findings suggest it may be beneficial for school districts to consider ways in which teachers may be provided with opportunities to feel more autonomous in their work.


97 pages




Northern Illinois University

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