Burnout in university students: the mediating role of sense of coherence on the relationship between daily hassles and burnout

  • Rebecca ShanklandEmail author
  • Ilios Kotsou
  • Fanny Vallet
  • Evelyne Bouteyre
  • Cécile Dantzer
  • Christophe Leys


Student distress is considered as a specific public health issue as research has shown increased levels of anxiety, depression, and risk behaviors in this population. Students report high levels of daily hassles, workload, lack of meaning, manageability, and understanding throughout their university years. These factors lead to increased academic burnout. In line with these findings, the current study aimed at assessing the mediating role of sense of coherence in the relationship between daily hassles and academic burnout. Furthermore, in order to assess the importance of sense of coherence in the field of academic burnout research, the percentage of variance of academic burnout explained by the sense of coherence was compared with the percentage of variance explained by optimism—a widely studied protection factor in the field of burnout and negative affect. This paper also reports the French validation of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Student Survey (MBI-SS) used in this study to assess academic burnout. The sample was composed of 328 students from three French universities. Results indicate that the French version of the three-factor model showed comparable reliability, sensitivity, and construct validity to the original MBI-SS. Sense of coherence played a mediating role between daily hassles and burnout. Furthermore, sense of coherence explained a larger portion of academic burnout variance than optimism. Results are discussed in light of past findings on academic burnout, and future prevention and treatment perspectives are suggested.


Students Academic burnout Sense of coherence Optimism Daily hassles 


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Conflict of interest


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LIP/PC2S, EA4145Université Grenoble AlpesGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.Faculty of PsychologyUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Chaire Mindfulness, Bien-Etre au travail et Paix économiqueGrenoble Ecole de ManagementGrenobleFrance
  4. 4.Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  5. 5.LPCPP, EA 3278, Maison de la RechercheAix-Marseille UniversitéAix-en-Provence cedex 1France
  6. 6.Département de PsychologieUniversité de BordeauxBordeauxFrance

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