Date of Conferral
Since the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act of 2004, special and general educators teach together in many classrooms. Co-teachers are subject to a variety of stressors, including role challenges for teachers who are accustomed to working independently. Research has shown that role ambiguity and role conflict are associated with burnout among special and general educators. However, no prior study has examined whether these role factors contribute to burnout among special and general educators in co-teaching roles. This study was based upon role stress theory in relation to the constructs of burnout. The sample included 72 special educators and 73 general educators who co-taught at 8 urban elementary schools. Participants completed the Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Scales and the 3 scales of the MBI-ES. Multiple regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship of role ambiguity and role conflict (independent variables) to each of the burnout scales (dependent variables). Each dependent variable was analyzed separately, as were data from special and general educators. Therefore, data analysis consisted of 6 separate regressions. The regression analyses indicated that role ambiguity was significantly related to personal accomplishment in both special and general education co-teachers while emotional exhaustion was significantly related to role conflict in both special and general education co-teachers. This information may lead to improved understanding of the factors contributing to burnout among co-teachers and to the design of appropriate interventions to address this problem.