Testing the Intermediary Role of Perceived Stress in the Relationship between Mindfulness and Burnout Subtypes in a Large Sample of Spanish University Students

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 25;17(19):7013. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17197013.


The burnout syndrome is the consequence of chronic stress that overwhelms an individual's resources to cope with occupational or academic demands. Frenetic, under-challenged, and worn-out are different burnout subtypes. Mindfulness has been recognized to reduce stress, comprising five facets (observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experience, and non-reactivity to inner experience). This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the relationship between mindfulness facets, perceived stress, and burnout subtypes in a sample of 1233 students of Education, Nursing, and Psychology degrees from different universities of Valencia (Spain). Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) was computed showing an adequate fit (Chi-square, CFI, TLI, RMSEA, and SRMR). Four mindfulness facets (all but observing) significantly correlated with general second-order mindfulness. Unexpected results were found: Acting with awareness facet was positively associated with frenetic subtype, while the non-reacting facet was positively associated with frenetic and under-challenged subtype. Ultimately, mindfulness facets negatively predicted the perceived stress levels, which in turn, predicted burnout. However, mindfulness plays different roles in the early stages of burnout syndrome (i.e., frenetic and under-challenged).

Keywords: burnout; cross-sectional study; mental health; mindfulness; stress; structural equation model; students; university.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Mindfulness*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Students / psychology*
  • Universities