Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pavkov, Thomas

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Special and Early Education


Burnout among the early childhood workforce has gained widespread attention in research and policy due to greater awareness of the negative impacts on children, providers, and organizations. Early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers create supportive and nurturing environments that facilitate early learning and development for young children. Accordingly, ECEC providers are the connective tissue between program intentions and outcomes. Despite the critical nature of the field, early childhood providers continue to be underpaid, under-resourced, and undervalued, leading to a high risk of burnout. With turnover rates of ECEC providers higher than ever, the link between burnout and attrition has drawn considerable attention. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to understand the variables impacting ECEC provider burnout. To date, no systematic review and meta-analysis has examined the relation between ECEC-, child-, and work-related variables and the dimensions of burnout among ECEC providers. The present study utilizes systematic review and meta-analysis to quantitatively synthesize and systematically examine the relation between the three dimensions of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment) and ECEC-, child-, and work-related variables. The comprehensive search strategy identified 14 cross-sectional studies utilizing a version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Effect sizes, along with study and participant characteristics, were coded and analyzed. The meta-analytic findings identified distinct relations between each burnout dimension and related variables. ECEC-related variables, job satisfaction (Fisher’s Z = -0.476, emotional exhaustion; Fisher’s Z = -0.392, depersonalization; Fisher’s Z = 0.336, depersonalization), psychological capital (Fisher’s Z = −0.416, emotional exhaustion; Fisher’s Z= -0.414, depersonalization; Fisher’s Z= 0.380), and perfectionism (Fisher’s Z= -0.214, emotional exhaustion; Fisher’s Z= -0.397, depersonalization; Fisher’s Z= -0.158) were significantly linked to burnout. Whereas work-related variables, work conditions (Fisher’s Z= -0.536, emotional exhaustion; Fisher’s Z= -0.308, depersonalization) and social relationships (Fisher’s Z= -0.371, emotional exhaustion, Fisher’s Z= -0.326, depersonalization, Fisher’s Z= 0.428, personal accomplishment), were the meaningfully and significantly associated with burnout. No relationship was found between child-related variables and burnout. Given the growing body of literature and global advocacy for high-quality ECEC services, these findings highlight the need for ongoing research, policy, and practice that supports ECEC provider well-being and buffers against the impacts of burnout.


154 pages




Northern Illinois University

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