Burnout in Italian Primary Teachers: The Predictive Effects of Trait Emotional Intelligence, Trait Anxiety, and Job Instability


  • Giacomo Mancini
  • Consuelo Mameli
  • Roberta Biolcati


Burnout syndrome has recently been recognized as a public health problem, widely observed in educational settings. In this study, we aimed to examine the role played by contextual variables, including job (in)stability and teachers’ personal characteristics, in predicting factors associated with teacher burnout, using a convenience sample of 137 Italian primary school teachers (94.2% female, Age: M = 47.17, SD = 8.88). The findings from the hierarchical regression analyses showed that both trait emotional intelligence (EI) and trait anxiety predicted emotional exhaustion and lack of personal accomplishment in relation to work, with EI having a negative association and anxiety having a positive association with both. As for contextual variables, job instability positively predicted low personal accomplishment, whereas teachers’ working experience predicted emotional exhaustion. We discuss these results in light of the current working environment experienced by Italian teachers, which includes a high percentage of fixed-term workers. Moreover, we examine the implications for research and interventions related to trait EI as a protective factor that might prevent the onset of chronic professional burnout among teachers and increase teachers’ effectiveness and, therefore, pupils’ well-being, resulting in positive educational outcomes.

Author Biographies

Giacomo Mancini, Department of Education Sciences “G.M. Bertin”, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Type B Researcher at the Department of Education Sciences since 2016, Dr. Giacomo Mancini teaches Clinical Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology. His research interests are addressed in particular to: Emotional Intelligence for individual well-being; evaluation and treatment of psychological suffering in children and adolescents. Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, he provides psycho-diagnostic counseling and individual psychotherapy at the Clinical Services of the Department of Psychology, University of Bologna.

Consuelo Mameli, Department of Education Sciences “G.M. Bertin”, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Consuelo Mameli, Ph.D., is a type A Researcher in Developmental and Educational Psychology at the University of Bologna since 2017. She is author of Italian and international research articles. Her research interests are focused in particular on educational quality, classroom interactions, student engagement and school well-being.

Roberta Biolcati, Department of Education Sciences “G.M. Bertin”, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Roberta Biolcati is Full Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Department of Education Sciences, University of Bologna. Individual and Group Psychotherapist, she teaches Intervention Techniques in Pathological Addiction. Prof. Biolcati is member of: IAGP (International Association of Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes); SAP (Psychological help service for young people - Department of Psychology) and CESAF (Research Center on Consumption, Social problems and Addictions - Department of Educational Sciences).