The Effect of Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction on Teacher Burnout: A Controlled Trial

Brain Sci. 2020 Jul 21;10(7):468. doi: 10.3390/brainsci10070468.


Burnout is a well-known phenomenon with significant social, biological and economic costs. In particular, teacher burnout is associated with unfavorable mental health outcomes and economic costs due to reduced hours and teacher turnover. This study investigated the effect of an Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) cognitive-reframing program on teacher burnout using a quasi-experimental design. Fifty-three teachers participated in a prospective intervention with a passive control group. The intervention group completed a 12-week IBSR program with 4.5 h of weekly engagement. Relative to control, teachers in the intervention group showed greater improvements in emotional exhaustion (18.8 ± 5.2 to 15.9 ± 5.7 vs. 16.0 ± 4.8 to 17.4 ± 4.8; p = 0.01) and personal accomplishment (21.8 ± 5.0 to 24.6 ± 4.3 vs. 21.9 ± 4.5 to 22.8 ± 4.3; p = 0.04). Significant correlations were found between change in emotional exhaustion and negative affect (positive correlation; r = 0.32; p = 0.034) and between personal accomplishment and perceived stress (negative correlation; r = -0.451; p = 0.002). This study demonstrates the potential of IBSR to improve teacher well-being. Future randomized studies are needed to evaluate the causality of IBSR in reducing burnout among teachers and other high-stress workplaces.

Keywords: IBSR; burnout; inquiry; mindfulness; stress; teachers; the work; well-being.