Predictors of burnout and engagement of university students
Student burnout and engagement have become more evident as a problem among students in higher education institutions. It is therefore very important to determine the various predictors that could cause students to experience burnout and engagement. The aim of this study is to establish whether core self–evaluation traits, career decision–making difficulty and social support have an impact on burnout and engagement of students. A limited number of research has been done on student burnout and engagement in the higher education institutions and the causal predictors of these occurrences. Therefore this study contributes toward the need for obtaining more information about student burnout and engagement and its predictors. The results could assist universities to obtain more knowledge and a greater understanding of possible predictors of burnout and engagement among students in South Africa. The objectives of the study were to: (1) conceptualise student burnout and engagement according to the literature; (2) determine whether core self–evaluation traits (self–esteem and self–efficacy) are significant predictors of student burnout and engagement; (3) determine whether career decision–making difficulties are significant predictors of student burnout and engagement; (4) determine whether social support is a significant predictor of student burnout and engagement; and (5) to make recommendations for future research. A non–probability quota sample (N = 782) was used to investigate the predictors of burnout and engagement in a sample of university students. Student burnout and engagement were measured by a self–report questionnaire. The results of this study indicated that self–efficacy, inconsistent information due to internal conflict and parental support were significant predictors for all four dimensions (exhaustion, cynicism, vigour and dedication). Self–esteem was also a significant predictor for the two engagement dimensions. In addition, lack of information about the self, lack of information about the occupations and inconsistent information due to external conflict predicted cynicism. Based on these results, this study can be an indication for students, parents and the higher education institutions on what the specific predictors are of student burnout and engagement. Recommendations are made for practice as well as for future research.