A group-focused rational emotive behavior coaching for management of academic burnout among undergraduate students: Implications for school administrators

Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Jul;98(30):e16352. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016352.


Background: High-stress level affects students' health and many of them experiencing high levels of stress are at risk of burnout. School administrators are often concerned about the experiences and negative effects of burnout among students and staff. Burnout is described as a psychological reaction to chronic stress. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of a group-focused intervention (rational emotive behavior coaching, REBC) on academic burnout among undergraduate students attending public universities in Southeast Nigeria.

Methods: A group randomized controlled trial design was adopted for this study. A total of 52 convenient samples of undergraduate students (with a high degree of burnout symptoms) took part in the research. We used a group REBT program manual for the management of burnout which was complemented with REBC techniques. Data were gathered with the aid of the perceived stress scale (PSS-10) and Oldenburg Burnout inventory-student (OLBI-S). Data were analyzed using ANOVA and paired t test at .05 probability level.

Results: Results showed that the group-focused REBC program significantly alleviated burnout symptoms among students in the treatment group compared to students in the control group as measured by OLBI-S subscales: exhaustion (F(1,51) = 41.789, P = .000, (Equation is included in full-text article.), ΔR = 0.634, SE = 1.00), and disengagement (F(1,51) = 196.036, P = .000, (Equation is included in full-text article.), ΔR = 0.869, SE = 0.69). The students who benefitted from the group-focused REBC program maintained reduced symptoms of burnout after three months when the researchers conducted a follow-up as measured by OLBI-S subscales: exhaustion (F(1,51) = 34.012, P = .000, (Equation is included in full-text article.), ΔR = 0.467, SE = 1.21), and disengagement (F(1,51) = 108.941, P = .000, (Equation is included in full-text article.), ΔR = 0.765, SE = 0.85).

Conclusion: This research indicates that group-focused REBC can be applied to reduce burnout symptoms among undergraduate students. The group-focused REBC intervention may be adapted to overcome employee burnout and school administrators' burnout. Researchers may need to investigate the possibility of storing and harnessing data from studies on REBC and burnout and delivering computer-based/internet REBC program following evidence-based computing strategies and principles.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Burnout, Professional / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nigeria
  • Perception
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Students / psychology*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult