Date of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Paula M Salvio

Second Advisor

Joseph Onosko

Third Advisor

Andrew Coppens


The purpose of this research was to explore the nature of teachers’ experiences of burnout and teacher self-efficacy, and the relationship between these two constructs. Although the research has demonstrated a well-established relationship between burnout and teacher self-efficacy, the exact dynamic between these two constructs is open to debate (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2010). Additionally, most of the existing research around burnout and teacher self-efficacy is quantitative. Therefore, this study investigated these two constructs qualitatively in order to gain a deeper understanding of the way teachers construct meaning about their experiences of burnout and how they feel, think, and explain their behavior based on their perceptions of their environment and beliefs about their abilities to be successful.

Using in-depth interviews, I conducted a multicase study of three New Hampshire middle school teachers based on the following three research questions: What meaning do three New Hampshire middle school teachers ascribe to their experiences of burnout and teacher self-efficacy? How are burnout and teacher self-efficacy manifested? How are burnout and teacher self-efficacy related?

I analyzed my results using the language and lens of audit. Audit refers to programs and technologies that aim to formalize accountability practices by focusing on standards and outcomes (Power, 1997, as cited in Shore & Wright, 2000). The main premise is that the transplantation of financial accounting practices into fields such as education have redefined accountability and transparency, as well as undermined professional autonomy for teachers – all of which have unintended dysfunctional consequences (Shore & Wright, 2015; Gill, 2009; Taubman, 2009), including burnout. By linking burnout to audit practices, I hope to move the educational psychology literature forward by historicizing and politicizing the cognitive constructs of burnout and teacher self-efficacy.