The effect of teachers’ emotional intensity and social support on burnout syndrome. A comparison between Italy and Switzerland

Piera Gabola, C. Fiorilli, P. Gabola, A. Pepe, N. Meylan, D. Curchod-Ruedi, O. Albanese, P. A. Doudin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


ntroduction School-related events require ability on the part of teachers to control their emotional intensity and maintain negative emotions at a low level without compromising their general well-being. Doudin and Curchod (2008) found that satisfaction with received support acted as a buffer against burnout. Objectives The current research focused on risk and protective factors for burnout syndrome, while also taking into account the role of two different school systems. We hypothesized that emotional intensity and dissatisfaction with social support would affect teachers’ levels of burnout. On this basis, we investigated a range of predictive models for all measures of burnout in both Italian and Swiss teachers. Method Participants were 275 primary school teachers (Italian n = 140; Swiss n = 135). Teacher burnout, emotional intensity and dissatisfaction with support received were respectively assessed by means of: the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1996), the Emotional Competence Questionnaire (Doudin & Curchod-Ruedi, 2010) and the Social Support Questionnaire (Doudin, Curchod-Ruedi, & Moreau, 2011). Results In line with our hypotheses, in both Italian and Swiss samples, emotional intensity played a significant predictive role in relation to emotional exhaustion and personal accomplishment, whereas dissatisfaction with support received affected all measures of teacher burnout. Conclusions Our results provide fresh evidence for the protective role of social support in a profession that is particularly at risk of burnout. More specifically, burnout was predicted by the same pattern of variables in Italian and Swiss teachers, with significant differences emerging between the two groups in relation to their satisfaction with support received.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Burnout
  • Emotional intensity
  • Italy-Switzerland
  • Social support
  • Teachers


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