Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Teachers in urban schools, facing a myriad of daily stressors and oftentimes without sufficient knowledge and skills to manage the social and emotional needs of their students and themselves, experience stress and burnout at levels that cause them to leave the teaching profession at alarming rates. Research pertaining to teaching stress, burnout, and coping has largely been devoted to enumerating the stressors that teachers experience, the impact of burnout on teachers and their students, and relating type of coping strategies that teachers employ. This body of literature falls short of illuminating what makes the teaching profession so inherently stressful, the cognitive and behavioral processes the mediate the experience of daily stress and burnout, and protective skills and attitudes that would prevent burnout.

The current study sought to address this gap in research and practice by applying a cognitive-behavioral model to investigate the cognitive and behavioral processes that are implicated in burnout. Additionally, the present study examined coping strategies teachers utilized in managing their distress, how efficacious they felt in using these strategies, and their openness to seeking professional psychological help. Results indicated that teachers' experiences are largely characterized by negative thoughts and feelings, which contribute to maladaptive physiological and behavioral processes, and that teachers who experience high levels of burnout more frequently report maladaptive physiological responses to challenging classroom situations. High burnout teachers reported more coping strategies yet felt less efficacious in their efforts. Overall, teachers were modestly open to receiving professional psychological services. Lastly, coping self-efficacy was more helpful in explaining variance in burnout than help-seeking attitudes and years of teaching experience.

Suggestions for future research include investigation into how to promote the health of the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral pathways that mediate burnout. Suggestion for practice include training and support provided to teachers to educate them about the distressing nature of their profession, how to cope effectively with such stress, and potentially provide professional psychological services.