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  Table of Contents 
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 133-140

Effect of occupational and personal stress on job satisfaction, burnout, and health: A cross-sectional analysis of college teachers in Punjab, India

General Marketing, Mittal School of Business, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, India

Date of Submission12-Sep-2019
Date of Acceptance13-Sep-2019
Date of Web Publication16-Dec-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vishal Soodan
Mittal School of Business, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab - 144 411
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_216_19

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Aim: This research is an attempt to gauge the effect of stress on job satisfaction, burnout and health that prevails among faculty members of select public and private colleges in Punjab, India. Materials and Methods: The study uses cross-sectional research methods to collect 412 samples by stratified random sampling. It uses scales like the socio-demographic questionnaire (SDQ), Chronic Burden Scale (CBS), Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS), and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) to collect data. The data were analyzed using the IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Statistics software, revealing that college teachers are facing the consequences of both occupational and personal stress. Results: The study revealed significant impact of occupational and personal stress on burnout, job satisfaction, and health of college teachers. Conclusion: The result of the study found that organizational environment significantly affects stress level in college teachers. Hence, it is suggested that a humane policy related to higher education is need of the hour to protect interests of teachers which share responsibility of carving out future of the country.

Keywords: Burnout, education, health, occupational stress

How to cite this article:
Rana A, Soodan V. Effect of occupational and personal stress on job satisfaction, burnout, and health: A cross-sectional analysis of college teachers in Punjab, India. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2019;23:133-40

How to cite this URL:
Rana A, Soodan V. Effect of occupational and personal stress on job satisfaction, burnout, and health: A cross-sectional analysis of college teachers in Punjab, India. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Jul 9];23:133-40. Available from:

  Introduction Top

In this modern and intense competitive era, organizations are pushing employees to the limits to get their maximum contribution in the journey to become profitable and more sustainable. Also, employees are putting in their efforts to get access to lucrative incentives and salaries. In this process of getting maximum output and rewards, the human body is facing the brunt of excessive work and exertion as there are professions that contain human interaction and require rapid decision-making skills. In addition, the most stressful professions are the ones in which these decisions have a serious impact.[1] It has been reported that work-related stress is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD).[2–4] Previous scholarly studies have reported affective disorders [5] and a range of other health risks associated with work stress.[6] This leads to an undesirable effect on job satisfaction, thereby, invoking feelings of inadequacy, which lead to exhaustion and conceded well-being. It has the ultimate effect on productivity and performance of employees.[7]

In the past few decades, to gain insights into the psychological impact of teaching as a profession, researchers have attempted to extensively study teacher stress, teaching climate, and job satisfaction.[8] The results of these studies have revealed that hostile job features may have a deep impact on the feelings of enervation and lead to negative attitudes toward work.[9],[10] It has also been argued that primary sources of educator stress reported among teachers are administrator pressure and parents of the students.[11] This stress, which comes through a job (occupational stress), is one of the biggest challenges that the Indian service sector is facing. According to Optum, nearly half the employees in India suffer from some kind of stress.[12] Hence, there is a need to understand the stress faced by individuals who have adopted teaching as their profession.

The Teacher Stress Inventory (TSI) created by Fimian [13] to assess teachers' work-related stress has established acceptable reliability and validity measures.[13],[14] The factors listed in TSI have their contribution in reporting several issues related to the association of stress and other related variables.[15],[16],[17],[18] Scholarly studies have described teacher stress as nervousness and unhappiness leading to anxiety [19] and undesirable emotional involvement, which is the result of job-related pressure and is further aggravated by the ability of an individual to handle the stress.[20] Teacher stress can be the result of the inadequate time required to prepare for high-stakes testing.[21] Various researchers have linked teacher stress with undesirable teacher outcomes like burnout, unhappiness, poor performance, absenteeism, and attrition.[22] Subsequently, stress has been demonstrated by researchers to have an inverse relationship with teacher job satisfaction, which ultimately contributes to low quality of life (QoL) for teachers.[21],[22] In general, high-stakes testing has proved to be traumatic and worrisome for teachers,[23] it suggests that teacher stress may tend to get higher with an increase in the use of high-stakes testing for job evaluations of teachers. The present study is an extension of existing literature on teacher stress by overcoming the limitations of previous research findings. This study, therefore, can act as a benchmark in the development of an effective policy that can impact teaching as a profession and its outcomes in the academic world.

Hamann and Gordon,[24] explained burnout as an occupational hazard. Lackritz [25] explored burnout among university faculty and burnout and work engagement. University teachers are likely candidates for burnout because of their relationships with large numbers of students, staff, and administrators.[26] In a study by Gmelch, Lovrich, and Wilke,[27] university teachers reported that 60% of the total stress comes from work. Other important academic stressors are a heavy workload and role ambiguity.[28] Competing demands of careers, social life, family plans, civil life, and recreation can also act as a stressor for teachers.[29] Burnout is often used to define occupational stress in people-oriented professions. Veninga [30],[31] describes burnout as a debilitating condition resulting from work-related frustrations. In the Indian context, Kasinath and Kailasalingam [32],[33] studied burnout among college teachers. Kudva [34],[35] analyzed the relationship between several components of teacher burnout and professional factors. Similarly, there has been considerable debate over the nature of the relationship between occupational stress and job satisfaction.[36] Kyriacou and Sutcliffe [37] found a significant negative correlation between self-reported stress and job satisfaction. Blix et al.,[26],[38] in their research, concluded that teachers who faced burnout because of stress were more likely to face health problems and tended to report lesser job satisfaction. Stress may result in adverse health outcomes only if it is associated with low job satisfaction.[39]

Accordingly, based on empirical evidence discussed above, the study attempts to investigate the effect of personal stress on job satisfaction, burnout, and health among college teachers in Punjab, a state of India. The study is relevant and can add to the existing pool of knowledge, as no such study, involving college teachers in this region of the country, has been previously conducted. Though, there are handful of studies focusing on stress and job satisfaction among college and secondary school teachers,[40] a study about college and university teachers with the unification of the abovementioned constructs is hard to find. Additionally, although studies on Indian teachers revealed insights about the stress in school and higher education,[40] there is not enough evidence to generalize the results with college and university teachers. Therefore, we attempt to test the hypothesis that personal stress in college teachers is a more important predictor of burnout, job satisfaction, and general health of teachers. Similarly, to add value to the study results, the importance of personal stress as a predictor of job satisfaction is also examined.

  Materials and Methods Top

This study uses a cross-sectional research design. The study included randomly selected faculty members, regularly appointed at respective organizations, employed in colleges and universities located near the Ludhiana and Jalandhar districts of Punjab, India. A sampling frame was constructed by obtaining the list of faculty members employed in the institutions under investigation. To finalize the suitable sample size, existing literature was referred. Initially, as suggested by Krejcie and Morgan,[41] the sample size was set on 384 participants. Further, the measures of respondents to measurement items were also taken into consideration (Hair et al., 2010),[42] resulting in a sample of 160 participants. On the basis of existing criteria for sample selection, a sample of size 400 was considered appropriate for the present study. Considering the limitations in data selection and respondent unwillingness, an upper limit of 500 was set as the targeted sample. The potential respondents were randomly approached through email, telephone, and personal visits. Of the 412 teachers who agreed to complete the questionnaires, 247 were males and 165 females. In terms of age and experiences, 26% of the teachers were above the age of 50 years and 30% had more than 20 years of work experience. All the teachers worked for 6 days a week, and per week their workload ranged from 15 to 22 hours of teaching and tutorials. Prior consent of the participants was obtained, and they were provided with questionnaires in sealed envelopes through the mail. The inclusion and exclusion criteria solely depended on the consent of individuals to continue or discontinue their participation in the research. Respondents were given 4 weeks' time for the completion of the questionnaire. All the responses were received within 6 weeks, and the data were recorded systematically in IBM-SPSS v23 for further analysis.

The participants were given six questionnaires, including a socio-demographic questionnaire (SDQ), validated in previous research;[43] the Chronic Burden Scale (CBS);[44],[45] Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS);[46],[47] and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28).[48],[49] The SDQ consists of questions related to gender, age, level of education, population group, and level of experience. The CBS measures personal stress, which relates to personal health problems, health problems of family, financial problems, and relationship problems. It consists of five statements with each item designed to establish a presence as well as severity and chronicity. The respondents answered “Yes” or “No” for whether they experienced ongoing stress and whether the stress continued for 6 months or more. Participants also rated their experience of stress. High scores indicated high levels of personal stress.[50] To assess the three burnout dimensions, the MBI [47] was administered. This questionnaire has been used in previous studies to measure burnout at the workplace.[51],[52] It consists of 22 items divided among three subscales. The Cronbach's α values for the present study were:

  1. Emotional exhaustion- 0.78
  2. De-personalization- 0.7
  3. Personal accomplishment- 0.73

The GHQ-28 measures perceived health quality by using 28 statements and has four subscales, namely, somatic symptoms (SS), anxiety/insomnia (AS), social dysfunction (SD), and severe depressive symptoms (DS). For the present study, GHQ-28 had Cronbach α values ranging from 0.65 to 0.77 for all sub-scales.

For the measurement of occupational stress, The Occupational Stress Indicator (OSI)[53],[54] was used. This is a self-report questionnaire, which has been widely used in the study of occupational stress. The OSI is a detailed scale, which is further divided into six subscales, namely, sources of pressure (61 items), coping skills (28 items), type A behavior pattern (14 items), job satisfaction (22 items), locus of control (12 items), and mental and physical health (16 items). For the present study, the researchers have only used three of these subscales, i.e. sources of pressure (α = 0.69), job satisfaction (α = 0.74), and mental and physical health (α = 0.88). It is important to mention here that a shortened version OSI-2 (20 items) is also validated and used in previous research to examine occupational stress among teachers. For the present research, the original version of the scale was used.

The sample size was adequate and the statistical procedure to examine normality, homoscedasticity, and linearity were implemented to meet the assumptions of hierarchical regression. For confirming the independence of errors, the Durbin–Watson test [55] was used.

The hierarchical regression requires independent variables entered in stages. For Stage 1, personal stress is entered as the independent variable, the other sources of occupational stress were entered one by one in each stage. The dependent variables are burnout, health, and job satisfaction. For each model, beta (β) values show unique contributions by each variable when other variables are held constant. The significant variables (P < 0.05) in each regression stage are highlighted. R and adjusted R-squared (ΔR2) values are interpreted as variance explained by each independent variable and additional variance explained after controlling for other variables respectively.

  Results Top

The results revealed that 74% of the teachers experienced personal stress related to financial strain. The other major stressors were intrinsic job-related issues (68%), managerial role (59%), and career- and achievement-related stress (75%). The results also revealed that 64% of the teachers were satisfied with their job and around 59% were facing a burnout. About 59% of the teachers reported some health problems resulting from work stress. Teachers who reported health problems felt stressful at work and were more burned out; 47% of the teachers felt satisfied with teaching as a career; and about 37% of the teachers who reported less satisfaction were more likely to feel burned out and ready to consider other career options because of work stress.

The results of hierarchical regression are presented in [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]. [Table 1] shows that personal stress is a significant predictor of the general health of teachers at stage 1. The R2 (0.19 or 19%) was significant at F (4,366) =25.463, P < 0.05, as it could account for 19% of the variance. In the subsequent stage, intrinsic job-related factors (F [(4,366) =25.463, P < 0.05]) accounted for additional 9% of variation in health. In the next stage, stress related to the role as a manager accounted for an additional 10% of the variation (F [7,421 = 29.83, P < 0.05]). However, it is evident that the stress of maintaining a relationship with others (F [8,421 = 56.36, P < 0.05]) does not have a significant effect on health. Similarly, career- and achievement-related stress (F [4,635 = 48.29, P < 0.05]) has a negative and significant effect on health and accounts for 7% of the variance at the fifth stage. The organizational structure and climate accounts (F = 7,241, P < 0.05) for an additional 8% of the variance at the next stage. In the last stage, the home/work interface did not contribute to the overall model and was also insignificant.
Table 1: Hierarchical regression with health as the dependent variable

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Table 2: Hierarchical regression with burnout as the dependent variable

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Table 3: Hierarchical regression with job satisfaction as the dependent variable

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The hierarchical regression results when burnout is taken as the dependent variable are presented in [Table 2]. The results indicate that personal stress (F [4,523 = 55.463, P < 0.05]) contributes significantly to the model, as about 37% of the variance in burnout is explained at stage one. In the subsequent stages, intrinsic job stress and managerial role stress have little contribution to the model. Further, maintaining a relationship with others contributes significantly (4%) to the burnout model. Similarly, career- and achievement-related stress although significant do not make a significant contribution to the model. Home/work interface (F [5,236 = 45.891, P < 0.05]) has a notable contribution of around 9% to the model.

[Table 3] shows the hierarchical regression result when the dependent variable is job satisfaction. At the first stage, personal stress (F [5,374 = 41.25, P < 0.05]) contributes significantly to the model, accounting for 44% of the variance in job satisfaction. In the second stage, intrinsic job stress contributes 1% toward the variance. At stage three, approximately 3% of the additional variance is explained by managerial role stress. Relationship stress is not a significant contributor to job satisfaction model. However, career- and achievement-related stress is a significant contributor to the model with an overall variance of 54%. Organizational structure (F [9,584 = 57.52, P < 0.05]), significantly contributes 1% to the model.

  Discussion Top

This study is aimed at the examination of the effects of personal stress on job satisfaction, burnout, and general health of college teachers. The study proposed that personal stress is a better predictor of health and burnout. The research result shows that personal stress predicts health better than job satisfaction and burnout. However, the study outcomes are in-line with previous studies that personal stress has a negative effect on burnout,[56–58] and general health.[56],[59] The research approves the earlier studies that job satisfaction is associated with occupational stressors.[26] The analysis indicates that career- and achievement-related stress and organizational climate stress are significant determinants of job satisfaction. Further, it is also apparent that managerial role stress, home/work interface, and organizational climate are also significant predictors of burnout. The burnout among teachers is also linked to personal stress. It is not surprising that the “burned out” teachers experienced stress-related health problems as a result of stress as burnout is frequently linked with illness.[26],[54],[57] The college teachers in India are facing a lot of work stress because of increased working hours, which is further worsened, in most of the cases, by the contractual nature of the job. Further, all the occupational stressors, except the stress of maintaining a relationship with others, career- and achievement-related stress, and home/work interface, seem to affect the health condition of Indian teachers. The institutions should work on reduction of personal stress as it is the most important determinant of teacher's health, and it is also true that healthy individuals can make better contributions toward the well- being of the organization. The burnout of teachers also results from personal stress. However, the study also indicates that a better organizational climate and work culture can reduce burnout. Therefore, a more conducive environment can be provided for the teachers that can reduce their burnout. Similarly, job satisfaction can improve through the reduction of occupational stress and personal stress.

Implications of the study

This research is aimed to examine the stressors and stress in college teachers working in the Indian higher education system and to gauge their relationship with job satisfaction, burnout, and health. The results of the current study have been corroborated by previous research findings [60] that are based on work-related stress in teachers. As the current study reported that both work-related stress and personal stress contribute to burnout, job satisfaction, and health of college teachers, it is the need of the hour to give a direction to the findings. The study results can act as a base for policy-makers to bring reform in Indian higher education, without harming the interests of the major stakeholders, i.e., the teachers. It can be established that one of the major reason of job burnout is an excessive amount of stress because of frequent reforms in the Indian higher education. As Indian higher education is plagued because of varied reasons, there is a widespread demand that higher education reforms are made mandatory.[60] Therefore, regulatory bodies are frequently making changes in Indian higher education system to make it more skill and career-oriented. The college teachers bear the burden of these changes; hence, they find themselves more stressed and always occupied. The findings also reveal that college teachers do not oppose to the changes suggested by the management/governing bodies, but the way they are implemented and the fact that changes are made without consultation of teachers creates a deteriorating impact on their job satisfaction. Further, the study results point toward heavy workload on teachers and their engagements in nonacademic affairs. It has been reported that college teachers juggle varied roles and responsibilities, but they do not get proper compensation or the backing they deserve. The changes in college/university management and its evaluation criteria also act as an external driving force behind the ever-increasing occupational stress and the deterioration of health of college teachers.

Furthermore, the personal stress of teachers has a relationship with job satisfaction, burnout, and health. It was inferred from the study that university/college teachers are going through occupational stress because of the economic burden of their family. Also, the faculty members are under immense pressure because of the challenge of teaching, as well as conducting quality research. It can also be noted here that the teachers found themselves more stressed and dissatisfied because of their family obligations and finances. These various roles of teachers may contradict each other, and teachers experience role stress while trying to fulfill their responsibilities. Apart from providing new opportunities of career enhancement and financial stability, policy-makers while formulating higher education policies should keep these factors in cognizance to have more humane and teacher-friendly mechanisms to reduce the level of stress and burnout and, ultimately, enhance job satisfaction and QoL. Further, the regulators should also acknowledge that a well-structured higher education system guaranteeing self-sufficiency would not only ensure delivery of quality education, but it would also bring excellence to the research in the country.

  Conclusion Top

The findings of the study infer that personal stress envisages health better than job satisfaction. Therefore, educational institutes should treat their employees in a more caring and watchful manner to observe the signals of stress. Timely action from higher management could prevent further escalation of job-related problems. The regulatory bodies should adopt a two-way approach. On one hand, enhancing quality of education should be prioritized and new reforms should be brought to add value to higher education. On the other hand, more careful observation and proper feedback of teachers should be ensured to reduce the level of burnout and increase job satisfaction and health quality. Furthermore, regulatory bodies should open new avenues of career enhancement and compensate the deserving teachers for their excellence in work/research. The results and inferences of the study can act as a base to enrich future models to predict the burnout in higher education institutes. The results could further help in creating proficient psychological readiness among higher education faculties in managing emotional and motivational encounters in their professional life.

Limitations and scope for future research

Like any other research, the results of this study should be observed carefully as there are several limitations to the research. First, the study was carried out in a limited area with only 13 colleges selected for the study. This poses a serious limitation to generalize study results. Second, the sample size was too small to be representative of the college teachers. Third, the method used to analyze the data were hierarchical regression, which poses a serious limitation to develop a model that could accurately predict the stress among college teachers. In future, a study could use Structural equation modeling (SEM) to model the stress and burnout in college teachers. Further, a cross-sectional survey with colleges and universities from different Indian states could be sampled to increase the generalization of the results. Future research could examine factors like newly qualified teachers and their experiences and perceptions of students about their teachers' pedagogical methods. The social and psychological attitude could also be investigated to add more relevance to the study.

Ethical clearance

This study is limited to the assessment of stress and its impact on college teachers and does not involve any medical trial. Also, necessary approval was taken from the institutional review board (IRB) as per the guidelines of the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE).


The authors of the article would like to extend their gratitude toward the faculty and staff of the participating colleges for their valuable contribution.

Financial support and sponsorship

This research received no financial support for the study, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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