The mediating role of burnout syndrome between regulatory focus/motivation and intention to leave in teachers

Mary Sandra Carlotto, Sónia P. Gonçalves, Rosa Lutete Geremias, Sheila Gonçalves Câmara


Teachers are exposed to various occupational stressors which, if persistent, can lead to Burnout Syndrome and to recurrent thoughts of leaving the profession and culminate in total withdrawal. Thus, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the mediating role of Burnout Syndrome between the two dimensions motivational system that is constituted by the regulatory system with a focus on prevention and promotion and the Intention to Leave the profession among teachers in Southern Brazil. A total of 781 elementary school teachers from public and private schools participated in the research. The research instruments used included the Burnout Syndrome Questionnaire, the Regulatory Focus Scale, and a single item to evaluate the Intention to Leave the profession. The results obtained by Structural Equation Modeling confirmed the hypothesis that Burnout Syndrome plays a mediating role between promotion regulatory focus and the Intention to Leave the profession. The results reveal the importance of interventions that contemplate the reduction of occupational stressors for the prevention or rehabilitation of Burnout Syndrome in teachers.


Burnout syndrome, Regulatory focus, Intention to leave, Teachers.

Full Text:



Adil, A., Kamal, A. Shujja, S., & Niazi, S. (2018). Mediating role of psychological ownership on the relationship between psychological capital and burnout amongst university teachers. Business Review, 13(1), 69-82.

Anderson, J. C., & Gerbing, D. W. (1988). Structural equation modeling in practice: A review and recommended two-step approach. Psychological Bulletin, 103(3), 411–423.

Andrews, M., Kacmar, K., & Kacmar, C. (2014). The mediational effect of regulatory focus on the relationships between mindfulness and job satisfaction and turnover intentions. Career Development International, 19(5), 494-507.

Ballantyne, J., & Retell, J. (2020) Teaching careers: exploring links between well-being, burnout, self-efficacy and praxis shock. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2255.

Bouza, E. et al. (2020). Síndrome de quemarse por el trabajo (burnout) en los médicos de España. EIDON, 53, 91-141.

Carlotto, M. S., & Câmara, S. G. (2020). Intenção de abandono laboral. In M. L. G. Schmidt (Org.), Dicionário temático de saúde /doença mental no trabalho: principais conceitos e terminologias (pp. 258-260). FiloCzar.

Carlotto, M. S. & Câmara, S. G. (2019). Prevalence and predictors of Burnout Syndrome among public elementary school teachers. Análise Psicológica, 2(XXXVII), 135-146.

Carlotto, M. S., Câmara, S. G., & Pinheiro, L. R. S. (2020). Tradução, adaptação e evidências de validade da Escala de Foco Regulatório (EFR). Interação em Psicologia, 24(03), 288-295.

Dai, Y-D., Altinay, L., Zhuang, W-L., & Chen, K-T. (2021). Work engagement and job burnout? Roles of regulatory foci, supervisors’organizational embodiment and psychological ownership. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 46, 114-122.

Ferrer et al. (2017). Regulatory focus prevention motivation promotion motivation tailoring interventions. Health Behavior Social Science & Medicine 195, 50–60

Guidetti, G., Viotti, S., Gil-Monte, P. R., & Converso, D. (2017). Feeling guilty or not guilty. Identifying burnout profiles among Italian teachers. Current Psychology, 1-12.

Higgins, E. T. (1997). Beyond pleasure and pain. American Psychologist, 52, 1280–1300.

Higgins, E. T. (2012). Regulatory focus theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 483–504). Sage Publications Ltd.

Higgins, T. E., & Pinelli, P. (2020). Regulatory focus and fit effects in organizations. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 7, 25-48. 045404

Johnson, P. D., Smith, M. B. Wallace, J. C., Hill, A. D., & Baron, R. A. (2015). A review of multilevel regulatory focus in organizations. Journal of Management, 41(5), 1501-1529.

Kartono, K., & Hilmiana, H. (2018). Job burnout: A mediation between emotional intelligence and turnover intention. Jurnal Bisnis dan Manajemen, 19(2), 109–121.

Koopmann, J., Lanaj, K., Bono, J., & Campana, K. (2016). Daily shifts in regulatory focus: The influence of work events and implications for employee well-being. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37, 1293–1316.

Lanaj, K. Chu-Hsiang, D. C., & Johnson, R.E. (2012). Regulatory focus and work-related outcomes: A review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(5), 998–1034.

LeClaire, M., Poplau, S., Linzer, M., Brown, R., & Sinsky, C. (2022). Compromised integrity, burnout, and intent to leave the job in critical care nurses and physicians. Critical Care Explorations, 4(2), e0629.

Lee, H., & Sturm, R. E. (2017). A sequential choice perspective of postdecision regret and counterfactual thinking in voluntary turnover decisions. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 99, 11–23.

Leung, C-M & Lam, S-F. (2003). The effects of regulatory focus on teachers' classroom management strategies and emotional consequences. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 28(1), 114-125.

Leung, D. Y. P., &. Lee, W. W. S. (2006). Predicting intention to quit among Chinese teachers: differential predictability of the components of burnout. Anxiety, Stress & Coping. An International Journal, 19(2), 129-141.

Lichtenthaler, P. W., & Fischbach, A. (2019). A meta-analysis on promotion and prevention focused job crafting. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 28(1) 30–50

Mack, J.C., Johnson, A., Jones‐Rincon, A., Tsatenawa, V., & Howard, K. (2019). J. Why do teachers leave? A comprehensive occupational health study evaluating intent‐to‐quit in public school teachers. Appllied Biovehavioral Research, 24, e12160.

Madigan, D. J., & Kim, L. E. (2021). Towards an understanding of teacher attrition: A meta-analysis of burnout, job satisfaction, and teachers’ intentions to quit. Teaching and Teacher Education, 105.

Medina-Carls, K. (2020). What motivates teachers to stay faithful to the teaching profession? International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 10, 22-34.

Shaukat, R. Yousaf, A., & Sanders, K. (2017). Examining the linkages between relationship conflict, performance and turnover intentions: Role of job burnout as a mediator, International Journal of Conflict Management, 28(1), 4-23.

Shi, R., Zhang, S., Xu, H., Liu, X, & Miao, D. (2015). Regulatory focus and burnout in nurses: the mediating effect of perception of transformational leadership. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(6), 58-67.

Silbiger, A., Berger, R., Barnes, B., & Renwick, D. (2017). Improving expatriation success: the roles of regulatory focus and burnout. British Journal of Management, 28(2). 231-247.

Sillero-Sillero, A, & Zabalegui, A. (2020). Análise do ambiente laboral e intenção de enfermeiras perioperatórias de abandonar o trabalho. Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem, 28, e3256.

Sorensen, L.C. & Ladd, H. F. (2020). The hidden costs of teacher turnover. AERA Open, 6(1), 1-24.

UNESCO. Institute for Statistics (2016). The world needs almost 69 million new teachers to reach the 2030 education goals (No. 39). Disponível em

Zambaldi, F., Costa, F. J. da, & Ponchio, M. C. (2014). Mensuração em marketing: estado atual, recomendações e desafios. Brazilian Journal of Marketing, 13(2),

Zhang, Y., Zhang, Y., Ng, T. W. H., & Lam, S. S. K. (2019). Promotion-and prevention-focused coping: A meta-analytic examination of regulatory strategies in the work stress process. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(10), 1296–1323.

Zardo, E., & Carlotto M. S. (2019). Adição ao trabalho em profissionais autônomos. Salud & Sociedad, 10(3), 226-239.

Wang, H., Lee, S. Y., & Hall, N. C. (2022). Coping profiles among teachers: Implications for emotions, job satisfaction, burnout, and quitting intentions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 68, 102030.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Nº ERC: 107494 | ISSN (in print): 0870-8231 | ISSN (online): 1646-6020 | Copyright © ISPA - CRL, 2012 | Rua Jardim do Tabaco, 34, 1149-041 Lisboa | NIF: 501313672 | The portal and metadata are licensed under the license Creative Commons CC BY-NC