The article purpose is to study the influence on university students’ academic burnout of reciprocity between educational requirements and student’s personal resources. The latent variable - “the educational requirements” was represented by the following observable variables: academic load, clarity of requirements and adequacy of tasks. Another latent variable - “integral personal resources” was formed by four key personal resources: self-efficacy, self-control, dispositional optimism and psychological hardiness.
The study involved 303 students (135 boys and 168 girls) of 17 to 21 year old (M = 18.38 years old, SD = 1.53). Structural equations were formulated based on the performed cross-sectional study and were used to model correlations between latent variables. The measurement model was evaluated before the evaluation of the structural models, and its compliance with the data was checked. The model compliance was assessed using the following statistics: χ2, RMSEA CFI, and TLI. After such checking of the measurement model, we evaluated the structural models. At the first step, the structural model was evaluated without any correlations of the latent variables. The model suitability indices were obtained at this step. At the second step, the structural model with a correlation between the latent variables was evaluated. The effect of the examined correlation was calculated as the difference between the determination coefficients for the structural model with and without the correlation.
The obtained results showed that the perceived educational requirements were positively and statistically significantly associated with academic burnout. Personal resources were organized into a system and formed a second-order factor at the level of empirical indicators - integral personal resources. The influence of the correlation between the educational requirements and the integral personal resources on academic burnout was statistically significant. The correlation between the educational requirements and the integral personal resources explained additional 8.0% of the variance for academic burnout. The effect from the examined correlation was 0.19, which meant that students with higher integral personal resources were less prone to academic burnout. In other words, integral personal resources were a buffer mitigating the influence of educational factors on academic burnout.
Since the studied personal resources have a lifetime genesis and can be developed and improved, they can be corrected during the targeted training for students. Such training, developing students’ personal resources, can help them effectively cope with the educational demands, have good academic achievements without burnout. Thus, the organised influence should be aimed at improvement of personal resources, since the educational requirements cannot be reduced in the educational context.
The study has several limitations. First, it was a cross-sectional study with limited opportunities to find out causes of relations between academic stressors and academic burnout. Therefore, the study results should be confirmed in a future prospective study. Secondly, the study was based solely on self-reports, which could have distorted the relations between these variables. Therefore, research using objective indicators is needed.
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