Date of Conferral







Patricia Loun


Burnout affects the psychological, emotional, and physical well-being of educators. One population influenced by burnout is special educators who teach in autism-specific classrooms. Susceptibility to burnout may be due to the increased rates of autism diagnoses in recent years and because of the specialized duties required of special educators. Research has shown that lack of social support from administrators is associated with burnout in special educators. However, no prior study has examined the individual or combined support from administrators, colleagues, and subordinates as predictors of burnout in special educators. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the amount of social support from administrators, colleagues, and subordinates predicted 3 dimensions of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lessened feelings of personal accomplishment) using Bandura's social cognitive theory. The study included 94 special education instructors who teach in autism-specific classrooms in Southern California. Participants completed a modified version of the Social Support at Work Scale, the Maslach Burnout Inventory Educators Survey, and a demographics questionnaire. Of the 3 separate multiple regression analyses, combined social support significantly predicted only 1 dimension of burnout: emotional exhaustion. Individually, only greater administrator support predicted higher levels of emotional exhaustion. This counterintuitive finding suggests that other aspects of administrator support in relation to burnout should be investigated. Implications gleaned from this study may lead to development of burnout prevention programs and earlier assessment of special educators deemed at-risk of developing burnout.