|dc.description.abstract||The only constant thing in today's world is change. Change is everywhere, even in the education sector.
The education system has undergone tremendous changes in the past 10 years. This includes several
curriculum changes. Change always contributes to stress, which individuals in the education department
are experiencing quite intensively, judging by the popular media. Stressful events may lead to ill-health
and might negatively impact the workforce and the overall well-being of these educators.
The emergence of positive psychology has contributed to the increased research of well-being, rather than
the negative antipode of illness, in relation to occupational stress. One of these positive aspects of wellbeing
is work engagement, which is considered to be the opposite of burnout. Thus, describing burnout,
engagement and stress is a first step in facilitating the work-related wellness of educators. Furthermore,
individual dispositions that may act as resources or buffers in the handling of stress and burnout, facilitate
engagement and protect educators7 health are also of interest. To measure burnout, engagement, stress
and health, it is important to use reliable and valid instruments. Various studies are available on the
reliability and validity of the burnout and engagement scales, but it is rather limited for educators in the
South African environment. Furthermore, little information exists regarding the causes and effects of
work stress, health, burnout and engagement of educators in South Africa.
The first objective of this research was to standardise the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey
(MBI-GS) and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) for educators in the Goldfield region of the
Northern Free State province. The second objective was to determine if biographical variables can be
used to describe educators' burnout and engagement. The third objective of this research was to
determine causes of stress among educators, and again to investigate the role of biographical differences.
Lastly, the focus in this research fell on the determination of the role of optimism in predicting the health
of educators in the Goldfield region of the Northern Free State province.
A cross-sectional survey design, in which a sample is drawn from a population at one point in time, was
used to attain the research objectives. Participants were randomly selected from the total population of
educators in the Goldfield region of the Northern Free State province. A sample of 469 educators was
used from the total population of 1014 (i.e. 46,25% of the total population). Schools in the Goldfields
region of the Northern Free State province were randomly selected to participate in this research.
The MBI-GS, the UWES, the Educator Stress Questionnaire (which was developed by the author for the
purpose of this research), the Health Subscales of the Asset, the LOT-R and a biographical questionnaire
was administered. Descriptive statistics, Cronbach alpha coefficients, inter-item correlations, exploratory
and confirmatory factor analyses, Pearson correlations, multivariate analysis of variance, one-way
analysis of variance, t-tests, dummy coding and multiple-regression analyses with interaction terms were
used to analyse the data.
Structural-equation modelling confirmed a three-factor model of burnout consisting of Exhaustion,
Depersonalization and Professional Efficacy. All three factors showed acceptable internal consistencies
for three main language groups. A three-factor model of engagement was also confirmed, consisting of
Vigour, Dedication and Absorption. These scales also indicated acceptable reliability. Results of a
second order factor analysis indicated that the work wellness of educators can be described as consisting
of two dimensions. The Burnout dimensions of Exhaustion and Depersonalisation can be grouped
together on one factor, while the Burnout dimension of Professional Efficacy can be grouped with the
Engagement variables of Vigour, Dedication and Absorption.
Results showed that biographical variables that consist of the gender, marital status, home language, age
and years work experience of educators could be used to describe educator burnout and engagement. It
was found that Exhaustion could be predicted by gender. Educators who speak an African language
scored lower than Afrikaans-speaking educators in terms of Exhaustion. Marital status could also be used
to predict exhaustion. Educators between the ages of 37 and 46 measure lower on depersonalisation than
educators between the ages of 22 and 30 years. Educators who have between 13 and 20 years of
experience, have higher levels of depersonalisation than participants with 6 or less years of experience.
Both English and African-language-speaking educators measure lower on Professional Efficacy than the
Afrikaans language group. Language remains a significant predictor of Professional Efficacy. Educators
who are older than 31 years of age measure higher on Professional Efficacy than those younger than 31
years of age. Professional Efficacy could be predicted among educators who are English speaking and/ or
older than 31 years of age. Additionally, being married or divorced measure lower on Professional
Efficacy when compared to their single counterparts. The eldest educators measure higher on Professional
Efficacy. Female educators measure lower on Vigour than their male counterparts. Educators between the
ages of 47 and 64 measure higher on dedication than educators between the age of 22 and 30 years.
Married educators measured lower on dedication, when compared to single educators.
The ESQ, a measure of educators' occupational stress that consists of 48 items, was developed and
administered. During analysis, 4 items were discarded due to non-loading, and a further 8 items were
discarded due to significant secondary loadings. Five factors were extracted and were labelled Rewards
and Participation, Support and Communication, Job Insecurity, Role Overload and Task Characteristics.
Furthermore, the biographical variables that were used to describe burnout and engagement among
educators (language, age, gender, work experience and marital status), could also be used to describe
educator stress. The various stress factors that were identified through the ESQ, could also be used to
determine well-being among educators. This includes Support and Communication, Rewards and
Participation, Role Overload, Job Insecurity and Task Characteristics.
In terms of predicting the physical and psychological health of educators, separate analyses were carried
out for the burnout and engagement components. It was shown that that educators' home language, their
experience of optimism, role overload and task characteristics predicts physical health, and home
language, participants' levels of optimism, experiences of rewards and participation, support and
communication, job insecurity, role overload and task characteristics predicts psychological health.
Additionally, the interaction terms Professional Efficacy and Optimism, as well as the interaction
between Vigour and Optimism, proved to be significant predictors of physical health. The interaction
term of Depersonalisation and Optimism, as well as the interaction term of Support and Communication
and Optimism, proved to be significant predictors of psychological health. Language was also shown to
be a constant predictor of physical and psychological health, where educators speaking an African
language experienced significantly better overall well-being than Afrikaans and English-speaking
By way of conclusion, recommendations for future research and the education department are made.||