York St John University And University Of York Researchers Examine Burnout

Study finds REBT proving useful in tackling student burnout
Peter Devine
October 4, 2023

An academic study has found that irrational fears post pandemic may lay at the heart of student burnout.

Burnout is the common reference, which post-Covid pandemic can and does lead to a lack of motivation, reduced performance and poor wellbeing.

The researchers from the School of Science, Technology and Health at York St John University, in partnership with the University of York, have led the largest study to date about how to intervene effectively, after it was shown that previously there was little consensus among parents, teachers and policymakers as to the best way forward in solving the issue.

The new study on 2,500 pupils/students from secondary and tertiary levels of education, from the age of 11 to early adulthood, found that different interventions showed varying degrees of effectiveness in reducing burnout symptoms.

It found that practicing meditative mindfulness, psycho-education, and exercise were all found to be moderately helpful but the most useful was a cognitive treatment, called Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), which focuses on challenging irrational beliefs.

Dr Daniel Madigan, Professor of Sport and Health Psychology at York St John University said: “Increasing levels of student burnout are well documented and there are increasing concerns about mental and physical health issues as a result.

“This age group were hit hard by the pandemic, with disruptions like social isolation, remote learning and uncertainty about the future likely contributing to increased stress and burnout.

“With this study we want to offer clear information for policymakers, parents, teachers and anyone interested in addressing student burnout and promoting a healthier educational environment.”

Dr Lisa Kim, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Psychology in Education at the University of York said: “We hope this study is informative in understanding the types and characteristics of interventions that can most effectively help students in reducing burnout.

“As we have noted in the paper, we hope that educators and researchers are able to invest more time and other resources to help prevent student burnout, including reflecting on the ways schools and universities teach and assess their students.”        

Read more on the study and its findings HERE