Boon or Burden: The Effect of Implementing Evidence-Based Practices on Teachers’ Emotional Exhaustion

  • Rachel R. OuelletteEmail author
  • Melanie Pellecchia
  • Rinad S. Beidas
  • Rukiya Wideman
  • Ming Xie
  • David S. Mandell
Original Article


This study examined the association between (1) beginning-of-the-year emotional exhaustion and use of three evidence-based practices (EBP) for children with autism spectrum disorder; and (2) use of these EBP and end-of-year emotional exhaustion among 46 kindergarden to 2nd grade autism support teachers participating in a randomized trial. Emotional exhaustion was measured at the end and beginning of the school year using a subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Fidelity was measured using monthly observations, coded by research assistants trained to reliability. Correlations were used to examine unadjusted associations and ordinary least squares regression was used to examine associations adjusted for beginning-of-year burnout, years teaching, and average change in student cognitive functioning. Emotional exhaustion at the beginning of the year was not associated with EBP use. Greater fidelity to each EBP was associated with lower end-of-year emotional exhaustion (coefficients ranging from − .34 to − 1.13, all p’s < .05). Results indicate that helping teachers implement EBP with greater fidelity may help reduce burnout, a substantial challenge in the field.


Autism spectrum disorder Special education Teachers Emotional exhaustion Fidelity 



This work was supported by funding to Dr. Mandell from the following Grants from the National Institute of Health 1R01MH083717 and Institute of Education Sciences R324A080195.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that he/she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel R. Ouellette
    • 1
    Email author
  • Melanie Pellecchia
    • 3
  • Rinad S. Beidas
    • 3
  • Rukiya Wideman
    • 2
  • Ming Xie
    • 3
  • David S. Mandell
    • 3
  1. 1.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.University of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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