Date of Award
College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences
Erin Mueller, PhD
Burnout is a significant challenge faced by students, and may have implications for the professional lives of those students following graduation. In an effort to identify factors that enhance vulnerability to burnout, and possible mediating factors, this study examined the relationship between empathy and burnout and the relationship between religiosity and burnout. Participants were undergraduate students aged 18-23 years, recruited from two universities in the Portland, Oregon area: Concordia University, a private, religious school, and Reed College, a private, secular school. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the Maslasch Burnout Inventory – Student Survey, and the Centrality of Religiosity Scale – interreligious, seven-question version. Data were also examined to determine whether burnout increased with academic year, and whether there were any significant differences between the two universities. No significant relationship was found between empathy and burnout. Cynicism, a component of burnout was found to correlate negatively with religiosity. No significant relationship was discovered between academic year and burnout. Several differences, most notably in religiosity and burnout, were found between Concordia University and Reed College. These results indicate that although burnout is most common in highly involved populations, the capacity for empathic response does not necessarily predict burnout. Additionally, although several factors of religiosity have been correlated with reducing susceptibility to burnout, religiosity itself does not indicate that groups will be less susceptible to burnout.
Honors: Thesis with Distinction Award