Cognitive Appraisal as a Mediator in the Relationship Between Stress and Burnout
C. Simães1, A. R. Gomes2, S. Faria3, M. Gonçalves3
1University of Minho, School of Nursing, Braga, Portugal
2University of Minho, School of Psychology, Braga, Portugal
3University of Minho, School of Sciences, Braga, Portugal
Background: This study analysed the mediating role of cognitive appraisal on the relationship between occupational stress and burnout. Methods: Participants were 333 university teachers, from north of Portugal (Age: M = 42.67; SD = 6.87). Measures included the Stress Questionnaire for Academic Staff (Gomes, 2010) to assess occupational sources of stress; the Cognitive Appraisal Scale (Gomes, 2008) to measure primary and secondary cognitive appraisals; and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey (Maslach et al., 1996) to evaluate burnout dimensions. Findings: Model 1 tested the mediating role of primary cognitive appraisal (e.g., threat and challenge perceptions) between stress and burnout. The model presented good fit indices (RMSEA = 0.054; CFI = 0.91; TLI = 0.90), explaining 69% of the variance in burnout. Model 2 tested the mediating role of secondary cognitive appraisal (e.g., coping potential and control perception) between stress and burnout. The model presented good fit indices (RMSEA = 0.052; CFI = 0.94; TLI = 0.91), explaining 50% of the variance. Discussion: Data confirmed that cognitive appraisals partially mediated the relationship between occupational stress and burnout at work. These findings constitute a promising underlying mechanism in the explanation of adaptation at work, which must be considered in occupational stress intervention programs.